- This Microclimate is not incredibly influential on the design of the building or the way it is experienced as there are few tall buildings to the East/South/West that greatly impact the amount of solar radiation incident on the façade. The first few floors benefit slightly from this in the summer and must be cooled more so than other buildings during the winter. When the building was first constructed, this problem was even more apparent as the adjacent buildings were even shorter in that time.
- The cool and humid climate of New York, in addition to the cost of sheet glass at the time, influenced the designer’s commitment to maintaining stonework up the full façade of the building. Additionally, this mimicked the art deco style of the times.
- The mechanical systems originally used inside the building were massive chillers and boilers housed in the basement of the structure. Of course, being built in 1931, these were incredibly inefficient and wasted a lot of energy performing their job. Recent sustainability-focused renovations have earned the skyscraper a LEED Gold certification for Existing Building Operations and Management.
- Because the structure of the tower is not able to hold chillers near the top where New York’s air is cleaner and cooler, the chillers had to remain at the bottom of the structure and cool air is pumped up from these during the summer. During the winter, radiators beneath most of the windows are used as the primary heating device in the offices. This ensures that very little heat escapes via heat transfer through the building envelope.
- Finally, a complex monitoring systems installed in each suite ensure that the most efficient HVAC settings are used throughout the building.
- Thermo Pane windows make up all of the glazing on the building. The glass used here is three panes thick, with a layer of inert gas (krypton) between each layer. This kind of window reflects light with each pane of glass and insulates between the layers.
- Generally speaking, completely transparent glass panels are avoided in skyscraper construction, but because this tower is not completely glazed on the exterior the lack of low-e coating is somewhat acceptable practice.
- Structural innovation did not determine how the building was formed or constructed, resulting in a building that actually uses more steel than necessary to achieve its height.
- The main structure of the tower uses massive steel columns towards the bottom that gradually diminish in size in favor of lighter trusses towards the top of the building. This is a common practice in making structures where the compressive forces at the bottom of a structure are much stronger than at the top of the structure. Near the top of the building, tensile forces are of a greater concern than at the bottom sue to higher wind speeds. The use of trusses in both the columns and beams lends the structure greater rigidity where it is most needed. In the lower portions of the building, wide flanges make up the columns and beams of the structure.
- Nearly all of the structural members were encased in concrete after placed to prevent fires from weakening the building.
- Because of the tower’s location in this incredibly dense area of Midtown Manhattan, certain measurements were taken to ensure there was no delay in the construction schedule and that very few civilians were inconvenienced by the construction process. Steel, manufactured in Pittsburgh and overnighted to Manhattan via train, had to be accepted into the structure the moment it arrived at the site as there was no place to store the members while they waited to be put in place. Each piece was carefully marked with its proper location and carried there with the use of cranes that climbed the tower as it grew taller – a common practice today that was still being perfected in 1929 and 1930. Any bricks used in the building were housed in the basement until needed elsewhere in the project.
- This process also included a very tightly managed staggered work schedule, with interior workers following the installation of electrical wiring and plumbing, concrete pourers, riveters and those placing the steel.
- Because the bedrock in Manhattan is so close to the surface, the foundation of the ESB does not require piers or piles to reach an adequate footing. Before the superstructure of the building was constructed, workers dug a foundation 55 feet into the soil and bedrock to ensure an even footing for the tower.
- The building is considered by some to be a project inspired by the New Deal, although Al Smith, then president of the New York County Trust Company and the Empire State Building’s biggest supporter, hated Roosevelt’s New Deal policies and wanted instead to focus on creating a ‘beacon’ of progress for the city of New York.
- In direct competition with the nearby Chrysler Building, the architect William Lamb ensured the tower would rise above Chrysler’s art deco construct. The result is a building towering over 200 feet taller than its most imminent competitor.
- Arguably, the single most important portrayal of the tower that publicized its height and construction was the 1933 film King Kong. After this movie was released in theaters worldwide, visitors flocked to New York to see the Empire State Building in person.
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- New York, New York
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