Wednesday, July 6th, 2022
CECR

Empire State Building

 

The Empire State Building is a 102-story Art Deco skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan in New York City. It was designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon and built from 1930 to 1931. Its name is derived from “Empire State”, the nickname of the state of New York. The building has a roof height of 1,250 feet (380 m) and stands a total of 1,454 feet (443.2 m) tall, including its antenna.

The skyscraper, featuring 2.1 million square feet of rentable office space, stood as the world’s tallest building until the construction of the World Trade Centre in 1970; following its collapse in 2001, the Empire State Building was again the city’s tallest skyscraper until 2012. As of 2020, the building is the seventh-tallest building in New York City.

Construction

The design of the building changed 16 times during planning and construction, until it was ensured to be the world’s tallest building. But 3,000 workers completed the building’s construction in record time: one year and 45 days, including Sundays and holidays. Construction started on March 17, 1930, and the building opened afterward on May 1, 1931.

The construction itself is a model of efficiency, based on the emerging principles of industrialism, assembly lines and division of labour. To maintain the strict schedule, pieces like steel beams and stonework were prepared off-site, then delivered ready to be inserted into place by workers. A series of hoists and narrowgauge tracks inside the building moved the pieces to the topmost floors, while large external winches were used for heavy stone pieces. Workers perched hundreds of feet above street level as they riveted steel girders.

While the project was considered very safe for the era and complexity, six workers died. As many as 3,000 workers were at the job site at one time, with the weekly payroll sometimes approaching $250,000. Because it would have been impossible to get all the workers down from the site, then back up again in a timely manner for their lunch break, food concessions were placed every few floors.

While the project was considered very safe for the era and complexity, six workers died. As many as 3,000 workers were at the job site at one time, with the weekly payroll sometimes approaching $250,000. Because it would have been impossible to get all the workers down from the site, then back up again in a timely manner for their lunch break, food concessions were placed every few floors.

The 80th, 86th, and 102nd floors have places where people can look at the city from high above. There is a steel mast on the top of the Empire State Building. The builders wanted to have an airship station on the roof, but the station was not opened.

Steel Structure

The Empire State Building is composed of 60,000 tons of steel, 200,000 cubic feet of Indiana limestone and granite, 10 million bricks, and 730 tons of aluminium and stainless steel. With its steel columns and beams, 62,000 cubic yards of concrete, 6,514 windows, and 73 elevators in 7 miles of shafts, the Empire State Building is a feat of 20th-century engineering.

The steel columns and beams form a stable 3-D grid throughout the entire structure. But since such closely spaced column grids obstruct open spaces in buildings, there are virtually no open spans, or column-free spaces, on each floor of the Empire State Building.

The steel frame of the building was protected by iron oxide and linseed oil paint when it was delivered from the steel mill, and then it was covered with an asphalt coat to resist it from breaking down when it was brought into contact with cement. All the steel columns were fireproofed with cinder concrete, so all the steel is encased in concrete, which, of course, makes the building not only strong, but fireproof.

Exterior

The Empire State Building’s art deco design is typical of pre–World War II architecture in New York. The modernistic, stainless steel canopies of the entrances on 33rd and 34th Streets lead to two-story-high corridors around the elevator core, crossed by stainless steel and glass-enclosed bridges at the second-floor level. Further, the exterior of the building is clad in Indiana limestone panels sourced from the Empire Mill in Sanders, Indiana, which give the building its signature blonde colour.

Interior

The Empire State Building was the first building to have more than 100 floors. It has 6,514 windows; 73 elevators; a total floor area of 2,768,591 sq. ft (257,211 m2 ); and a base covering 2 acres (1 ha). Its original 64 elevators, built by the Otis Elevator Company, are in a central core and are of varying heights, with the longest of these elevators reaching from the lobby to the 80th floor.

As per the final specifications of the building, the corridor is surrounded in turn by office space 28 feet (8.5 m) deep. Each of the floors has 210 structural columns that pass through it and provide structural stability.

Innovative Systems

The fact that the building is considered a New York City and National Historic Landmark has not slowed down its progress. In 2011, the Empire State Building was awarded LEED Gold for Existing Buildings certification as further recognition from the $550 million Empire State ReBuilding program. The Empire State Building is the tallest and most well-known building in the U.S. to receive LEED certification.

The Present

Today, visitors can ascend to the Empire State Building’s observation deck for an unequalled view of New York City. It is open from 8:00 AM to 2:00 AM, seven days a week, and costs $18 for an adult ticket. This allows access to the 86th floor observatory. The 102nd floor is accessible as well but costs an extra $15. You can enjoy the view for free with the official Empire State Building Web cams.

Amrita Batra
Associate Editor
Civil Engineering and Construction Review

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This