Empire State Building, New York: All you need to know

Articles > Empire State Building, New York: All you need to know


This was the tallest building that was built between 1930 and 1931. It became the world's tallest office building with a height of 204 feet. Within 20 months it was designed, constructed and built. Over 40 years it remained the tallest building until it was succeeded by the World Trade Center. 

The Empire State Building  was originally part of an early 18th-century farm located in Midtown South on the west side of Fifth Avenue between West 33rd and 34th Streets. But later on it became an important hub for big businesses to flourish. It is a hub for many businesses including Shutterstock, Coty, Citizen, LinkedIn, HNTB, Skanska and Global Brands Group. 

The size of this building has also become a standard globally for its height and length. This tower has also been named as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). It bagged its first ranking on the American Institute of Architects' List of America's Favorite Architecture in 2007. The building and its interior on the ground floor were designated as city landmarks by the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission in 1980. Later on it was added as a National Historic Landmark to the National Register of Historic Places in the year 1986. This building was considered to be landmark in civil engineering because of its built quality, far before buildings like World Trade Center or Burj Khalifa were built. This building till now holds a special place in the world of civil engineering.

Fig 1: Empire State Building

Courtesy: Wikipedia


From a Civil Engineering Perspective

While construction of such big buildings the amount of raw materials were in huge quantity. About fifty seven thousand tons of steel and over sixty two thousand cubic yards of concrete were required. The steel was pre-ordered and pre-fabricated with effective revision to the building code that would have authorised to extend the capacity to eighteen thousand pounds per square inch, thus making the building economic. In a stretch of 10 working days, the builders constructed fourteen floors.This massive project consisted of trucks carrying sixteen thousand partition tiles, 5000 bags of cement, 450 cubic yards of sand and 300 bags of lime arriving at the construction site every day. 3500 workers worked day and night for the completion of this building project.

Structurally as well as from a design perspective, this building was constructed through proper planning and management. The Lean Proejct Delivery System (LPDS) was adopted as a project management approach. This system aims to facilitate protocols for decision making, execution procedures, and tools required for its implementation. The main difference between LPDS and any other traditional system is the way it is viewed. The traditional one rarely considers the management criteria of the production system whereas in LPDS system an approach to manage the entire construction project as a system is adopted. The main aim of LPDS is to provide a well structured framework that mentors project participants to construct work flow faster and more predictable while delivering value to the customer (Ballard, 2000).


Milestones Achieved Through It 

Undoubtedly, it was a big success structurally as well as businessly. Many stakeholders profited by investing in such a big project and it also proved to be effective in providing many jobs thus solving unemployment problems to a great extent. Other milestones achieved through this are -

  1. Constructed as the motive to make it the tallest building in the world 

A competition arose between 40 Wall Street’s Bank of Manhattan building and the Chrysler Building. Both towers raced against each other by adding more floors to their design, and the race got heated up in August 1929. When it was realised that the Empire State building would be 1,000 feet tall, plans were changed at a final time and stainless steel spire to the top of his skyscraper was fixed. Upon much competition, Empire State Building won the race and it remained in the top most position for 40 years.

  1. Upper tower was built for airships 

At that time, Transatlantic airship was considered to be a future vehicle as a mode of transportation. The presence of high winds near the rooftop of the building proved impossible for pilots to do the landing and so this idea had to be discarded because of such problems. 

  1. Completion in recorded time

Despite the size of the project, it took 20 months for its completion. Soon after the demolishment of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, the previous occupants - contractors Starrett Brothers and Eken- utilised an assembly line process to construct this skyscraper in a brisk 410 days. The building process proceeded so fast that the first 30 stories got completed even before certain details of the ground floor were concluded. Finally, the Empire State Building was finished ahead of schedule and it remained under budget.

Fig 2: Waldorf-Astoria hotel

Courtesy: Wikipedia



Compared with other traditional methods in building projects, the Empire State Building went way ahead for its generation in civil engineering field. Many milestones were achieved through it that included building ports for airships, thinking it as a future transportation mode, building it in recorded time that amazed the world in many aspects, remained in the topmost position for several years and so on. It proved to be a hub for developing businesses that till today hold power in the corporate world. Although many new buildings arose and took over its position, it holds a special place because of its special features. It became a landmark and it motivated many great architects and engineers to prosper more by making such buildings.







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