Thames Tunnel Was Originally Created Essay

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As such, the original construction for the building was completed between 1911 and 1913, after which point the factory underwent significant reconstruction resulting in an expansion that was largely different than its original design. The construction effort was largely financed by Benscheidt, who worked in conjunction with foreign investors raise the necessary funding. The building's foundation was achieved by mixing compressed concrete and pebble dashing. While the majority of the rising structure was erected with brick, the floors were laid down with reinforced wood planks. The ceilings were constructed with a formwork shell (Gotz 138).

The glass windows that the Fagus Factory is noted for were erected upon steel frames and cover the building's entire exterior. What is of interest about this fact is that the corners of the building were constructed without supports, in much the same way that the Turbine factory was (Jaeggi 43-44). The glass was placed between piers to achieve this effect, and the individual frames were made of L. beams which were actually screwed in. The frames of the glass were sealed to the piers via steel plates that were wedged between them.


The primary significance attributed to the original construction of the Fagus Factory is its glass exterior, which seemingly defied convention by appearing to hang around corners without support. It is also noteworthy that despite Gropius's previous experience working on similar buildings with Behrens and Meyer (such as the AEG Turbine factory), his carrying out the design efforts (that were partially conceived by Werner) represented his first industrial commission. The novelty of the appearance of glass walls on the exterior of the building are alluded to in the following quotation from Nikolaus Pevsner, who noted in regards to the Fagus Factory that "For the first time a complete facade is conceived in glassflat…thanks to the large expanses of clear glass, the usual hard separation of exterior and interior is annihilated" (Pevsner 4-5).


Gotz, Jurgen. "Maintaining Fagus" in Fagus: Industrial Culture from Werkbund to Bauhaus. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. 200. Print.

Jaeggi, Annemarie. Fagus: Industrial Culture from Werkbund to Bauhaus. New York: Princetion Architectural Press. 2000. Print.

Pevsner, Nikolaus. Pioneers of Modern Design. Bath: Palazzo Editions. 1949. Print.

3. Empire State Building (1929-1931)

3.1. Background

There were a number of different functions for the Empire State Building. As a skyscraper constructed in the early part of the 20th century, its numerous floors were created to allow for a substantial amount of office space. Skyscrapers were becoming popular due to the effects of the industrial revolution during the preceding century, and office work and the space for it was considered highly important in the continuing production of commerce and industry during this epoch.

In many regards, however, the Empire State Building was constructed for cultural purposes. The building was actually erected during a time when it was in competition with at least two others (the Chrysler Building and 40 Wall Street) for the title of the world's tallest building. This competition would prove highly influential in the design and construction methods used to erect this monument, which was widely regarded as a cultural icon that was distinctly American.

Interestingly enough, the building's history can be traced to the early part of the 19th century, when the Astor family purchased the land that the building is presently on. By the end of the century the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel was situated on the 34th street and Fifth Avenue. Before long, a pair of investors (John Raskob and Pierre du Pont) acquired the rights to the property and commissioned William F. Lamb to design the structure. The Starrett Brothers and Eken worked as general contractors on the project.

3.2 Design

Since the Empire State Building was created during the competition to produce the world's tallest building, the design for the structure was predominantly conceived of in the need to conserve time. To that end, Lamb, who worked for an architectural company by the name of Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, widely forsook originality in favor of influence -- which he gained from a pair of buildings. The design for the Empire State Building was patterned after that of the North Carolina's Reynolds Building (Covington), as well as the Carew Tower in Ohio. The building was designed from its apex down (Wagner 12), and the principles it utilized were relatively simple -- they emphasized both height and the need for celerity. The drafts of the Empire State building were completed in just two weeks in order to speed construction, particularly since the Chrysler Building (Myers) and 40 Wall Street were already under construction while the Empire State Building was still being designed.

The building comprises 102 stories and is 443 meters tall, including a 62 meter high antenna which caps its roof. The vast majority of the stories were intended to be used for office space. Approximately a year after the building's construction was completed in 1931, tower lights were placed atop it.

3.3. Construction

What the Empire State Building may have lacked in terms of originality for its design, it more than made up for with its novel construction history. The structure was one of the fastest erected (particularly when one considers its vast height) which was due to an expedient use of both labor and materials. The initial excavation of the construction site began on January 22, 1930, and construction began in earnest on St. Patrick's Day (March 17) of that same year. With Raskob and du Pont providing the majority of the edifice's financing, former New York Governor Al Smith was elected as chairman of the construction company. The materials for construction were largely supplied by James Farley's General Builders Supply Corporation and consisted of steel, glass, limestone, granite and chromium (No author 920); the construction project superintendent was John Bowser. The project was officially completed on May 1, 1931.

As a testimony to the efficacy and celerity that typified the duration of the Empire State Building's brief construction history, the building was completed for $24.7 million dollars -- well under the projected estimates of $43 million. Another noteworthy aspect about the construction history of the Empire State Building is that it was scheduled to take 18 months, when it was completed in less than 15. The building was primarily composed of iron, and utilized more than 3,000 workers, many of whom emigrated from Europe. Additionally, several Native American workers were brought in from Montreal to assist in the construction process. At least five construction workers died while the building was erected.


The primary significance attributed to the Empire State Building is associated with its height. During its construction, it surpassed both the Chrysler Building and the building at 400 Wall Street to achieve the distinction as the tallest building in the world for 41 years. In 1972 that distinction was claimed by the World Trade Center. At present, only Chicago's Trump International Hotel and Tower and Willis Tower are the only skyscrapers taller than it. There are only 14 other man-made structures on the planet taller than it.

Additionally, this edifice is renowned for the speed in which it was erected, which is due in no small to its non-innovative design which adhered to many characteristics of the Art Deco style. As such, it is culturally significant as a distinguishable American landmark. Its name was taken after a popular moniker for New York itself, the Empire State. The buildings features were memorialized in several popular culture references, probably most eminently in the 1933 film King Kong in which a monstrous ape climbs atop the building. People travel from all over the world to journey to the tops of its towers, and after an initial lull in tenants due to the economic havoc of the Great Depression, it is one of the most sought after office space facilities in Manhattan.


Covington, Owen. "A Look at the Historic Reynolds Building." The Business Journal. 2012. Web.

Myers, Jeffrey. "A Brief History of the Empire State Building." No date. Web.

No author. "Man's Mightiest Monument." Popular Mechanics. 1930. Web.

Wagner, Geraldine. Thirteen Months to Go: The Creation of the Empire State Building. San Diego: Thunder Bay Press. 2003.

Unite d'Habitation


This particular structure is actually the name for a variety of buildings that were created by Le Corbusier, in conjunction with other artists, painters and designers. The most famous of these structures is that which was erected in Marseille's southern section which has a variety of monikers including radiant city, La Masion du Fada (Jenkins 34). The most interesting aspect of this particular structure in Marseille is related to its functionality, which was conceived of by Le Corbusier as providing autonomous living for people and professionals who were a part of, yet distinct from, the immediate surroundings of the larger metropolitan area. More specifically, the modernist designer planned this housing complex as a city within a city, and created it for the explicit purpose…[continue]

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