The Empire State Building is a 102-story Art Deco skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. The building was designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon and built from 1930 to 1931.
The building has a roof height of 380 m and stands a total of 443.2 m tall, including its antenna. The Empire State Building stood as the world’s tallest building until the construction of the World Trade Center in 1970; following the latter’s collapse in 2001, the Empire State Building reverted to being the city’s tallest skyscraper until that title was surpassed in 2012. As of 2022, the building is the seventh-tallest building in New York City, the ninth-tallest completed skyscraper in the United States, the 54th-tallest in the world, and the sixth-tallest freestanding structure in the Americas.
The Empire State Building was designed by Shreve, Lamb, and Harmon in the Art Deco style. It was the first building in the world to be more than 100 stories tall, though only the lowest 86 stories are usable. The first through 85th floors contain 200,500 m2 of commercial and office space, while the 86th story contains an observatory. The remaining 16 stories are part of the spire, which is capped by an observatory on the 102nd floor; the spire does not contain any intermediate levels and is used mostly for mechanical purposes. Atop the 102nd story is the 61.9 m pinnacles, much of which is covered by broadcast antennas, and surmounted with a lightning rod.
The facade is clad in Indiana limestone panels sourced from the Empire Mill in Sanders, Indiana, which give the building its signature blonde color. According to official fact sheets, the facade uses 5,700 m3 of limestone and granite, ten million bricks, and 730 short tons of aluminum and stainless steel. The building also contains 6,514 windows.
The building was originally equipped with white searchlights at the top. They were first used in November 1932 when they lit up to signal Roosevelt’s victory over Hoover in the presidential election of that year. On November 26, 2012, the building had its first synchronized light show, using music from recording artist Alicia Keys. The building’s owners adhere to strict standards in using the lights; for instance, they do not use the lights to play advertisements.
The building’s Art Deco architecture, height, and observation decks have made it a popular attraction. Around four million tourists from around the world annually visit the building’s 86th- and 102nd-floor observatories; an additional indoor observatory on the 80th floor opened in 2019. The Empire State Building is an international cultural icon: it has been featured in more than 250 television series and films since the film King Kong was released in 1933.
The building’s size has become the global standard of reference to describe the height and length of other structures. A symbol of New York City, the building has been named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. It was ranked first on the American Institute of Architects’ List of America’s Favorite Architecture in 2007. Additionally, the Empire State Building and its ground-floor interior were designated city landmarks by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1980 and were added to the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.
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