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Web Exclusive | July 2014

10 reasons why The Empire State Building is an architectural marvel

By Sumisha Gilotra
The Empire State building is an architectural wonder in New York designed by William F. Lamb from the architectural firm Shreve, Lamb and Harmon. Its art deco look, tall structure and fantastic views distinguish it from the rest of the buildings around and a visit to New York would certainly be incomplete without a shout from its observatory on the 86th and 102nd floors. There are several numbers to describe the height of the Empire State Building: the total height of the building, including the lightning rod, is 1,454 feet, the height of the building from the ground to its tip is usually given as 1,250 feet.

It stood as the world's tallest building for nearly 40 years, from its completion in early 1931 until the topping out of the World Trade Center's North Tower in late 1970.

Currently it is the fourth-tallest completed skyscraper in the United States and the 23rd-tallest in the world.

But there is more to the building than just that. Here are some shocking and some not so shocking details about it:
     1. William F. Lamb produced the drawings of the building in just two weeks! The design was based on his earlier designs for the Reynolds Building in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and the Carew Tower in Cincinnati, Ohio (designed by the architectural firm WW Ahlschlager & Associates). Every year the staff of the Empire State Building sends a Father's Day card to the staff at the Reynolds Building in Winston-Salem to pay homage to its role as predecessor to the Empire State Building.   
2. The building was actually completed ahead of schedule, taking only one year and 45 days to build.The building itself cost $24,718,000 to build which was nearly half the expected cost! 
 3. The building has 73 elevators and there are 1,860 steps from street level to 102nd floor. It has 113 km of pipe, 2,500,000 ft of electrical wire, and about 9,000 faucets. And windows? 6,500. What a lot to clean!
4. It took 57,000 tons of steel to construct the steel skeleton. 
 5. In 2010, the Empire State Building underwent a $550 million renovation, with $120 million spent to transform the building into a more energy efficient and eco-friendly structure. Receiving a Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating in September 2011, the Empire State Building is the tallest LEED certified building in the United States.
6. It is heated by low-pressure steam; despite its height, the building only requires between 2 and 3 psi (14 and 21 kPa) of steam pressure for heating. 
 7. In 2000, the building's owners installed a series of paintings by the New York artist Kysa Johnson in the concourse level. In January 2014 the artist filed suit in federal court in New York under the Visual Artists Rights Act, alleging the negligent destruction of the paintings and damage to her reputation as an artist.
8. In 1964, floodlights were added to illuminate the top of the building at night, in colours chosen to match seasonal and other events, such as St. Patrick's Day, Christmas, Independence Day and Bastille Day. After the eightieth birthday and subsequent death of Frank Sinatra, for example, the building was bathed in blue light to represent the singer's nickname "Ol' Blue Eyes". After the death of actress Fay Wray (King Kong) in late 2004, the building stood in complete darkness for 15 minutes. The floodlights bathed the building in red, white, and blue for several months after the destruction of the World Trade Center. 
 9. There is something called as the Empire State Building Run-Up, a foot race from ground level to the 86th floor observation deck that has been held annually since 1978. Its participants are referred to both as runners and as climbers, and are often tower running enthusiasts. The race covers a vertical distance of 1,050 feet(320 m) and takes in 1,576 steps. The record time is 9 minutes and 33 seconds, achieved by Australian professional cyclist Paul Crake in 2003, at a climbing rate of 6,593 ft (2,010 m) per hour.
10. The building has its own zip code, 10118. 

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