MDACC Houston Main Building Implosion

In 17 seconds, MD Anderson Cancer Center’s 21-story Houston Main Building (HMB) was successfully imploded. The HMB, which was located in Houston’s Texas Medical Center, became the third-tallest building to be imploded in Texas. Broaddus & Associates was responsible for demolition planning, which included an extensive coordination effort with 39 adjacent property owners and seven regulatory agencies before final preparations for the implosion was complete. The coordination effort took four months to complete and occurred concurrently with building preparation, which included stripping the interior and removing windows. The short-term plan for the site is to build a park for patients and employees with the long-term goal of constructing a new clinical building.



The 500,000-square-foot structural steel and granite façade skyscraper was built in 1952 . MD Anderson purchased the building in 1974, and it became the center’s main building in 1980, before closing in April 2010. The building’s structural grid layout was not compatible with MD Anderson’s clinical needs, leading to a decision to demolish the building. A $4-million, 16-by-46-foot mural of a hay-cutting ranch scene has been stored away for reinstallation at a library in Artesia, New Mexico. The 6,387 tons of steel were recycled while 3,200 truckloads are required to haul off the remaining debris.


Vaughn Construction was the overall firm responsible for this project, Sabre Demolition was the wrecking demolition subcontractor, and Controlled Demolition (CDI) was the implosion subcontractor. Walter P. Moore and Haynes Whaley were involved to analyze seismic and structural reactions, respectively. Broaddus & Associates organized, facilitated, and led meetings which involved MD Anderson, Vaughn, neighboring institutions, stakeholders, and regulatory agencies who would be impacted by the demolition and led preparation planning.