Seven Memorable and Iconic Structures Demolished in the Last 20 Years

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            The term “astroturf” entered the English vocabulary because of the site it was used at, officially, for the first time in a major sporting event. Growing up, seeing the majestic architectural wonder and an American invention set the standards for how stadiums are to be built worldwide have formed pleasant memories in me. Memories of Warren Moon and his phenomenal arm strength, the Houston Astros beating the Yankees in to open the Astrodome, and curiously, Billy Jean King defeating Bobby Riggs in the highly-touted infamous tennis match, “The Battle of the Sexes.” Sadly, by the mid-90s, the Houston Astrodome is obsolete. The Oilers has since moved elsewhere, and the Astros consider another stadium their home. The iconic stadium has not been satisfying the fire and safety standards code for years and has been in disuse since 2009. The Astrodome is now a protected structure after being given a designation as a State Antiquities Landmark. However, the plans are yet on hand for further use. Demolition is not forthcoming, but it seems like each day, demolition is just a matter of time. In fact, three exterior ramps were already knocked-down in 2013.

            For Gen-X’ers who have had their fair share of travels and have been following events that have entered pop culture, these ten structures demolished in the last twenty years have brought some tinge of sadness. But the demands for redevelopment, irreparable damage due to wear and tear, being blighted, or simply being unfeasible forced these structures to give way to newer ones. Here are ten iconic structures that are notable because they touched our lives at one point or another.


1. Seattle’s Kingdome:

Built in 1976, one of Seattle’s most famous landmarks did not have a long life span. It served as the home of the Mariners, Seahawks, and to a lesser extent, the Supersonics. Signs of its demise were felt in 1994 when portions of the ceiling fell. By 2000 the Kingdome was demolished by controlled implosion, and it was the largest structure destroyed using this method of demolition work at that point.


2. Wembley Stadium, London:

Who can’t forget the stirring events the iconic twin towers of the famous Wembley Stadium staged? Remember how Freddie Mercury stole the show in Live Aid? Or the stage for England’s only major football crown won in 1966? The stadium had to make way in 2003 for Lord Foster’s new stadium design, which will have a higher all-seating capacity. 


3. JFK Airport Terminal 6, New York City

IM Pei and Associates designed this 70’s classic. Built in 1969, it features an all-glass structure and initially stood as the home terminal for National Airways. More famously, TWA used it, and the terminal was named after the airline for some time. Budget travelers taking Jetblue will find this terminal memorable if not infamous due to delays. Jetblue consolidated its operations in 2008 to Terminal 5, placing Terminal 6 in disuse. The terminal was taken down by 2011 despite efforts from conservation groups.


4. Bay Bridge (East Span), Oakland, California

The bridge spanning the Oakland Bay were taken apart to make way for a new bridge already spanning the same area running alongside. Built in the 1930s, the bridge is being dismantled section by section at the reverse order in which it was built. It will take three to five years to dismantle fully.


5. Deutsche Bank Building, New York

The Deutsche Building, located in Liberty street, was designed by Shreeve, Lamb, and Harmon (the same firm that designed the Empire State Building), received considerable damage during the 9-11 attacks. It took until 2004 to decide the disposition for the building. By 2008, decontamination work started, and dismantling work was completed by 2011.


6. Yankee Stadium, New York

Any long-time Yankee fan will mourn the loss of one of the most iconic baseball stadiums in history. The Yankee Stadium, home to several of the greatest baseball players and teams of all time, made way to a $ 2 Billion stadium built close by. The last ever game was played on September 21, 2008, against the Orioles, following a pompous ceremony befitting the closing of the “House That Ruth Built.” Demolition work was completed in May 2010.


7. Metrodome, Minneapolis

Also known as the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, this stadium played host to the Vikings and the Twins. It had an air-supported fabric roof similar to the now-demolished Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan that famously featured in a roof collapse after a severe snowstorm in 2010. The stadium is notable for having been considered as having the worst visual for baseball. The white ceiling made it difficult for outfielders to see the baseball during fly balls. Demolition work started in 2014.

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