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Empire State Building
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Vital Statistics:
Location: New York, New York, USA
Completion Date: 1931
Cost: $41 million
Height: 1,250 feet
Stories: 102
Materials: Steel
Facing Materials: Limestone, granite, brick
Engineer(s): H.G. Balcom

Built during the Depression between 1930 and 1931, the Empire State Building became the world's tallest office building -- surpassing the Chrysler Building by a whopping 204 feet. The design of the building changed 16 times during planning and construction, but 3,000 workers completed the building's construction in record time: one year and 45 days, including Sundays and holidays. 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 aluminum and stainless steel.

Empire State Building
Click photo
for larger image.

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 Empire State Building remained the tallest building in the world for 41 years. In 1972, the World Trade Center claimed this distinction. Today, despite being surpassed in height by six other towers, the Empire State Building remains an internationally known landmark and arguably the most famous building ever constructed.


Here's how this skyscraper stacks up against the biggest skyscrapers in the world.
(height, in feet)

Chart showing the relative size of the biggest skyscrapers in the world Empire State Building
1,250'

Fast Facts:
  • In 1945, a B-25 bomber on its way to Newark Airport in New Jersey crashed into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building. Amazingly, the building suffered only minor damage.
  • The Empire State Building contains 3,194,547 light bulbs, 50 miles of radiator pipe, 70 miles of water pipe, 1,060 miles of telephone cable, and 7,450 tons of refrigeration equipment.
  • One hundred tons of trash and waste are removed from the building each month.
  • The Empire State Building is designed to serve as a lightning rod for the surrounding area. It is struck by lightning about 100 times per year.
  • There are 1,575 steps from the building's lobby to the 86th floor. Paul Crake holds the record for racing these steps in 10 minutes, 15 seconds.

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