Columbia Bank

Dykon withdraws 13-story
landmark from Kansas City skyline

By Jack Curran

(Originally published in The Journal of Explosives Engineering USA, Explosives Engineering UK, Demolition & Recycling International and Demolition Magazine)

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - Performing one of the most impressive urban building-implosion projects in recent memory, Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Dykon Explosive Demolition Corp. and Omaha, Nebraska-based Anderson Excavating felled the landmark Columbia Bank Building in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Although every structural blasting project presents special challenges, this undertaking was most notable for it's unusually unique structural design, tight clearances, and high risk to adjacent structures.

The Columbia Bank Building had been a part of the financial district in downtown Kansas City since 1930. The structure was unusual in that, unlike most reinforced concrete buildings, it possessed no interior load-bearing columns. All structural support came from columns located along the exterior perimeter walls.

Preparatory efforts began in February 2002, when workers from Anderson Excavating began exposing the outer columns by stripping out large areas of exterior walls. Blaster Jim Redyke then directed the cabling of certain columns to "pull" the building inward, and the Dykon team loaded explosives into pre-designated columns on every floor-an unusual blast plan to be sure, but one that was critical to insuring complete control of the structure as it fell.

Without question, the most daunting part of the project was it's close relationship to seven adjacent structures. Across a 12-foot wide alley to the east stood three financial institutions. To the south stood two multi-story apartment buildings. Across a narrow street to the west stood a parking garage and another bank, each with marble, granite and glass facades. And a few feet farther to the north stood a 30-story office building.

Quite literally, one wrong calculation would have resulted in substantial damage to several adjacent buildings. However, with an enthusiastic yell of "Fire!", Columbia Bank pulled inward exactly as planned, and all debris was contained within a few feet of the structure's footprint. When the dust had cleared, a detailed inspection conducted by an independent inspection firm, Protec Documentation Services, found that neighboring structures had sustained no adverse effects whatsoever.

The Columbia Bank Building was removed as part of downtown Kansas City's revitalization initiative, and is one of three structures in the city slated for explosive demolition by Dykon Explosive Demolition Corp. Several other historic buildings in the area are expected to be renovated or restored.

  Enter your E-mail address below,
  and we'll keep you informed on site
  updates and future live events.