The Empire State Building. 1930. Etching. 19 x 8 (sheet 21 5/8 x 11 9/16). A rich, well-inked impression printed on cream wove paper with full margins. Signed and dated in pencil. $1,750.
"The Empire State Building is a 102-story Art Deco skyscraper in New York City at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. Its name is derived from the nickname for the state of New York. It stood as the world's tallest building for more than forty years, from its completion in 1931 until construction of the World Trade Center's North Tower was completed in 1972. Following the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001, the Empire State Building again became the tallest building in New York City and New York State." Wikipedia. The Empire State Building has been named by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. The building and its street floor interior are designated landmarks of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, and confirmed by the New York City Board of Estimate. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1986. In 2007, it was ranked number one on the List of America's Favorite Architecture according to the AIA. The building is owned and managed by W&H Properties.
Standing in lonely dignity in the midriff of Manhattan, a sentinel by land, a reassuring landmark by air, the Empire State Building is the quadri-faced pharos of the city. And until outstripped by the twin towers of the World Trade Center (1975), its 102 floors were the highest in New York. Though designed at the end of the so-called Art Deco period in the 1920s, when zigzagged appliques were prominent, its exterior shows little of the frippery characteristic of that 'decorated' period. It is, moreover, one of the very few skyscrapers with four facades, not just one facing the avenue.
"Zoning required several setbacks, but these were given a skillful buildup of scale at the lower levels, while the tower itself rises unflinchingly. Indented setbacks in the center of each of the long sides help lateral scale. An observation platform and a pylon topped by a television transmission antenna crown all." E. Kidder Smith. Looking at Architecture. p. 152.
"The architectural, commercial, and popular success of the Empire State Building depended on a highly rationalized process, and equally efficient advertising and construction campaigns. Skillful designers of Manhattan office buildings, architects Shreve, Lamb, and Harmon were familiar with the imperatives of design and construction efficiency that maximized investors' returns by filling the building with tenants as soon as possible. ...
"The Empire State Building, like most art deco skyscrapers, was modernistic, not modernist. It was deliberately less pure, more flamboyant and populist than European theory allowed. It appeared to be a sculpted or modeled mass, giving to business imagery a substantial character..." Edward W. Wolner, >International Dictionary of Architects and Architecture, Randall J. Van Vynckt, editor. Volume 2, pp.963-964.
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