Smashing a Med Center Icon to Bits

Yesterday a few technical glitches got in the way of Swamplot’s plans to post videos showing the last moments of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s Houston Main Building, the iconic 18-story limestone-clad building at 1100 Holcombe Blvd. once known as the Prudential Tower, which was demolished over the weekend. But they’re here now. Enjoy!

Jarringly, the official video below tacks an animated version of M.D. Anderson’s “Making Cancer History” tagline onto the end of the well-documented urban rupture — allowing us to imagine that this violent implosion is merely the urban expression of the institution’s core cancer-eradicating mission. Cancer be gone! in 10 . . . 9 . . .


If that’s how the first suburban office campus ever built in Houston ends up, just think what they’ll be able to do to your malignant neoplasm.

Another view:

(Normal-speed version here.)

Videos: Candace Garcia, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Jackson Meyers. Photos: Candace Garcia.

11 Comment

  • Check out this timelapse video made up of photos I took during the MDACC HMB Implosion on 1/8/12 … I have not seen any photos or videos that were taken from as close to the bldg as i was….. Enjoy!

    and a video (quality is not so great since I was handling two cameras at the same time and the window had a reflective layer on):…..AAAAAAAAAA

    photo on flickr:

  • I was wondering what happened. Yesterday, during my standard Monday morning “It’s-only-10am-and-my-brain-is-already-fried-so-I’m-going-to-read-Swamplot,” I thought for sure the video of the demolition would be posted, but no luck. And so when I checked for the latest on the torrential downpours, flooding, and, apparently, tornadoes, I was surprised to stumble upon the video on To my chagrin, the Weather Channel incorrectly stated the building was located in downtown. At least they got the weather right.

  • Boom! That was awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  • It blowed up real good. I was wondering how they were going to drop the central tower of the building. They reinforced the east side of the building so the tower would fall to the west. Well done!

  • Anna – Your youtube link above didn’t work. Is this it?

    Nice to be able to see it from so close. There are some other views of the implosion on youtube that are taken from street level, some closer than others.

    I have a feeling the rebuilding effort — whenever it ultimately begins — will be watched very closely around here….

  • Talk about your “Daily Demolition Report”

  • @JV: yes, that is my video…. thanks for the correction.


  • So very sad…another iconic Houston landmark in that area of town bites the dust. Houston just doesn’t get how to preserve its architectural history.SIGH.

  • I was living in Houston when developers tried to demolish the Cotton Exchange, and when the inimitable Shamrock Hotel was imploded and two irreplaceable Market Square buildings were destroyed in the middle of the night by Spaw-Glass Construction Company.

    Unlike Houston, the cities of Fort Worth, Dallas, Austin and of course San Antonio enjoy alive and vibrant downtowns because they have saved their historic architecture.

    The Main, or Prudential Building, was one of the finest examples of mid-century architecture in the South, and now it’ll be a parking lot. You folks in Houston have lost so much of your past to the greedy hands of developers. The city just seems soulless sometimes….little history left.

    Until you begin to appreciate what was given you by your ancestors, your city developers and governmental leaders will continue to destroy the city’s architectural heritage and any hope of the city looking like anything but some tastleless developer’s vision of brand-spanking-new skyscrapers.

    Can’t wait for the hate mail from money-grubbers and developer ass-kissers. Bring it on!

  • Nope, the spot where the old pile stood will become a green space–a garden area for the enjoyment of Med Center patients & employees. There are damn few parking lots IN the center nowadays–a few parking garages, but most people park far away & take light rail back to work. If they’re smart, they take Metro all the way from home!

    The mural & the sculpture out front were saved. But the office spaces in the building were generally dismal & cramped–designed for office drones in rows, using typewriters & adding machines. Modern technology was a bad fit. As were handicapped employees. Also, it was sinking crookedly into our soft Houston gumbo. If the building was all that great, why did Prudential abandon it?

    Yeah, we need a live & vibrant downtown–which is NOT the Med Center. Which is busy & crowded–even though most people don’t want to go there. If you NEED to go there, be glad we’ve got first rate hospitals & research institutions.

    Why waste hate on a one-time Houstonian who preaches at us from a distance?

  • Hate to post again so soon. Here are some more pix!