We are continuing with our series on the history and development of the glazing at iconic buildings. We needed a very impressive building to follow on from the amazing Shard and Crystal Palace. So, after some investigation, it seemed The Empire State Building fitted the bill, especially as in 2009 it began an innovative building retrofit, in an effort to turn it into a more energy efficient and eco-friendly place.
Let’s start with some interesting facts and history.
Standing at some 443.2m high, the Empire State Building was completed in 1931 and has 103 floors, including two observatories on the 86th and 102nd floors which attract about four million people every year.
It was the world’s tallest skyscraper for over 40 years, until the World Trade Centre took away that position in 1972. After the attack on the World Trade Centre in 2001, it became the tallest building in New York again, but not in the world. It then lost that accolade to the new, One World Trade Centre, built in 2012. It is currently the 3rd tallest building in America and 15th in the world.
There are 1860 steps from the base level to the 102nd floor. A foot race from ground level to the 86th-floor observation deck has been held annually since 1978 ‘The Empire State Building Run-Up’ which covers a vertical distance of 320m. The record time achieved is 9 minutes and 33 seconds, but we are sure some of our FENSA Fitters could top that!
Now here is the figure you have all been waiting for, it has a staggering 6,514 windows! There is some amazing footage here of the windows being cleaned. Hope you have a head for heights!
To help make the building more energy efficient, its 26,000 panes of glass were removed individually from the windows and taken to an onsite workshop, where they were deconstructed, cleaned, upgraded and put back in the original aluminium frames. This was done with minimal waste and only a few of the original windows had to be discarded. The resulting windows are reportedly anywhere from 250% to 400% more efficient than the windows they replaced.
In a similar way to our Listed Buildings in the UK, the Empire State Building lobby was designated a historic landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, as many of its Art Deco features had been lost or obscured during the 1960s. For nearly two years experts worked to restore the lobby back to the original 1930 design, including the reinstating of an ornate ceiling mural and two chandeliers that had appeared on the original design but had never been commissioned.
Ok, so it may not be the tallest building in the world but overall we think it makes up for that in sheer class and style!