The Empire State Building: The Tallest of its Time

The Empire State Building: The Tallest of its Time

In the 1920s in New York, the economy was thriving, and builders wanted to construct the world’s tallest skyscraper. Finished in 1931, The Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world from 1931 until 1972. To this day, the monument attracts over four million visitors annually. In this blog, we’ll delve into details about one of the most well-known buildings in the world.

How Tall Is the Building?

To the top floor, the Empire State Building stands at 1,454 feet (443m), including the antennae, which is 204 feet (73m). The building remained as the tallest building in the world for 41 years until it was exceeded by the World Trade Center in 1972. In fact, the building is so enormous that is has its own zip code!

How Many Floors Does the Building Have?

Originally the building was designed to be 50 stories; then this slowly increased to 102 stories. In fact, The Empire State Building was the first building in the world to contain over 100 floors.

One of the issues with having a vast number of floors was the waiting times for the lifts. Therefore, the building was designed to have different banks of lifts, which reduced the waiting times.

Empire state building black and white skyline

How Long Did It Take to Build?

Despite the size of the project, from start to finish, including design, planning and constructing, the Empire State Building only took 20 months to complete. The build began in 1930, and the grand opening took place on the 31st of May 1931.

For the build, it took construction workers a year and 45 days, which was a record-breaking time.

How Much Did It Cost?

The cost of the demolition of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, construction and the land equated to $40,948,900. In 2012, it was estimated that The Empire State Building was worth $2.5 billion.

The Empire State came in under budget, due to the Great Depression. However, the building didn’t become profitable until 1950 due to the economic timings, making it more challenging to find tenants.

How Was It Built?

The land was home to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, which was demolished in order to build the Empire State Building. Shreve, Lamb & Harmon were appointed as the architecture firm to complete this project, and an assembly line building plan was undertaken.

In fact, the design of the monument changed sixteen times during the process and was built by 3,000 workers over a year and 45 days. Unfortunately, at least five construction workers sadly lost their lives while building the colossal building.

New York Cit skyline with empire state building

What Materials Were Used in the Build?

The resources used in the build were prepared off-site and delivered to keep to the strict timeline. 210 steel beams and columns were used to build the foundations of the building, creating a vertical frame. Twelve of these were the height of the entire building, and others ranged from six to eight stories in size. It is said that the Empire State Building was built with the following:
• 60,000 tonnes of steel.
• 200,00 cubic feet of Indiana granite and limestone.
• 10 million bricks.
• 730 tonnes of stainless steel and aluminium.

Is the Building Sustainable?

In 2009, a sustainable retrofit was completed to help reduce energy consumption and save money. Heating and cooling systems were updated, lightbulbs were switched to energy-efficient alternatives, and all 6,514 windows were refurbished. The windows were renovated in-house, which reduced the waste and need for new windows. This helped to achieve a LEED Gold Certification in 2011.

Martin Perry Associates are chartered surveyors and structural engineers in Plymouth. We offer a wide range of structural engineering and surveying services across the West Country. Browse the projects we’ve worked on and contact us if you require any additional information.

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