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banquo's_bumble_puppy
2012-Oct-03, 12:22 PM
Hypothetical question: Could the Empire State building be made taller? Lets say that the owners wanted to reclaim tallest building in NYC- could they still add floors? I am specifically suggesting floors and not a radio antenna or anything like that. Lets say another 30 stories for the heck of it. Could the building withstand the extra loading? I'd love to visit the city someday and see Manhattan from the harbor.

Swift
2012-Oct-03, 01:45 PM
I would guess no. The ESB is a rather old design (IIRC it was built in the 1930s). I don't think there is that much extra load capacity. And it does come to essentially a point, so you'd have to remove a lot of the top and rebuild it. Lastly, it is a National Historic Landmark (check the wikipedia article) so you'd essentially have to get a court order to make such a design change.

Not to mention the fact that New Yorkers are very possessive of their landmarks and I would suspect that there would be a huge uproar. I still recall the uproar over the destruction of the old Pennsylvania Station back in the 1970s; I (and I suspect others) are still annoyed about that.

From wikipedia

The Empire State Building is generally thought of as an American cultural icon. It is designed in the distinctive Art Deco style and has been named as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. 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.[11] It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.[8][12][13] In 2007, it was ranked number one on the List of America's Favorite Architecture according to the AIA.

Trebuchet
2012-Oct-03, 02:06 PM
As far as I'm concerned, adding floors to the Empire State Building would be like hiring Cecilia Gimenez to restore the Mona Lisa.

Strange
2012-Oct-03, 02:55 PM
As far as I'm concerned, adding floors to the Empire State Building would be like hiring Cecilia Gimenez to restore the Mona Lisa.

What if you added them from the bottom, so you didn't change the profile of the building.

Trebuchet
2012-Oct-03, 03:47 PM
Now there's an interesting engineering challenge!

starcanuck64
2012-Oct-03, 05:19 PM
It actually doesn't weigh as much as I thought, so it might be possible to raise it and add floors at the bottom.

http://www.newyorktransportation.com/info/empirefact2.html


Weight: 365,000 tons

Swift
2012-Oct-03, 05:46 PM
I guess a "thought experiment" is OK, but this really seems like a silly idea. The ESB wasn't the tallest building in NY for a very long time (all the years the WTC was up) and no one thought to make it taller. It hasn't been a selling point for the building for a very long time (around 40 years).

There actually was a period of time in the last several decades where they were having problems finding tenants, but it had nothing to do with the height of the building. For one, there was a glut of office space on the market in NYC. Second, it is a rather old-fashioned building (I've been in the offices in it, many years ago). They do not have the open floor plan of a modern office building, because there are structural supports throughout the entire building, and the officies are rather small. Third, it was rather an old building and frankly it seemed a little worn.

But there was a major renovation several years ago, and, as far as I know, it does well. The selling point has not been the height for a very long time; the selling point is the history and the central location in Manhatten. Even if one could structurally make it taller, it would not make it a better sell, and by destroying the history of it, you would probably make it worse.

starcanuck64
2012-Oct-03, 06:10 PM
I guess a "thought experiment" is OK, but this really seems like a silly idea. The ESB wasn't the tallest building in NY for a very long time (all the years the WTC was up) and no one thought to make it taller. It hasn't been a selling point for the building for a very long time (around 40 years).

Definitely just a thought experiment, it would be very difficult to safely raise the ESB, even if you did have a good reason to do so.

Another interesting fact about the building is it was hit by a medium bomber in 1945.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-25_Empire_State_Building_crash

Durakken
2012-Oct-03, 06:20 PM
Depends on what you mean taller... some people measure tallness by the floors and some by the highest point which can be artificially increased/decreased virtually at will

SeanF
2012-Oct-03, 06:26 PM
The ESB wasn't the tallest building in NY for a very long time (all the years the WTC was up) and no one thought to make it taller. It hasn't been a selling point for the building for a very long time (around 40 years).
I had to read that first phrase twice, as I originally read it as you were saying that the amount of time it spent as the tallest wasn't very long.

Interesting that it was the tallest building for about 40 years, then not the tallest for about 30 years, then the tallest again for about 10 years, and now not the tallest again.

Poor thing's going to get a complex.

starcanuck64
2012-Oct-03, 06:38 PM
Interesting that it was the tallest building for about 40 years, then not the tallest for about 30 years, then the tallest again for about 10 years, and now not the tallest again.

Isn't it still the tallest?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tallest_buildings_in_New_York_City

NEOWatcher
2012-Oct-03, 06:58 PM
Isn't it still the tallest?
With the spire, yes. Without, no.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_World_Trade_Center

The incomplete tower became New York City's tallest building by roof height, superseding the 1,250-foot (380 m) roof height of the Empire State Building, on April 30, 2012.[13] However, the Empire State Building's total spire height of 1,454 feet (443 m) will remain unsurpassed until One World Trade Center's antenna is installed.

starcanuck64
2012-Oct-03, 07:02 PM
With the spire, yes. Without, no.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_World_Trade_Center

It's good to see it almost finished.

jfribrg
2012-Oct-03, 09:33 PM
Instead of raising it up from the bottom, maybe we could just lower the land around it.

Ara Pacis
2012-Oct-03, 09:49 PM
I thought spires were included in height, but antennae were not. The Sears Tower (I refuse to call it the Willis Tower) should paint the antennae and call them spires.

Strange
2012-Oct-03, 11:32 PM
Depends on what you mean taller... some people measure tallness by the floors

Ah! That's a better solution. Instead of adding more floors at the bottom (or the top, if you insist) why not just increase the ceiling height by a few inches on every floor. That can't be too difficult, can it? Especially with all that alien technology the government has hidden away somewhere. :)

DonM435
2012-Oct-03, 11:33 PM
If it had an infinite number of floors, all of them occupied, you could ...

You know the rest.

Swift
2012-Oct-04, 02:49 AM
Another interesting fact about the building is it was hit by a medium bomber in 1945.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-25_Empire_State_Building_crash
A fellow my mother worked with when I was a child was in the building that was hit by some of the debris that came off and crashed near-by. IIRC, the whole thing happened on a Saturday, and for some reason he happened to be working that day. The fact that it was a Saturday was also one of the reasons so few people were killed.

Noclevername
2012-Oct-04, 03:04 AM
If it had an infinite number of floors, all of them occupied, you could ...

You know the rest.

...Get away with having only one handyman?

banquo's_bumble_puppy
2012-Oct-04, 02:24 PM
The reason I made this somewhat silly post is somewhat related to the concept of building new structures on top of old (ala Blade Runner). I love the Gothic look and the dystopian look...so it's a thought experiment...I often wonder if say a Delta IV Heavy could carry the Orion to the moon if it had a couple of SRB's added on....so there's all types of nonsense floating around in my head...it's fun to play with ideas.

NEOWatcher
2012-Oct-04, 05:30 PM
Instead of raising it up from the bottom, maybe we could just lower the land around it.
Isn't global warming going to make the land look lower?


If it had an infinite number of floors, all of them occupied, you could ...
Occupied by turtles?


The reason I made this somewhat silly post is somewhat related to the concept of building new structures on top of old (ala Blade Runner).
I've seen that done in a lot of movies that want to portray the future. The most common ones I see modified are the WTC and Golden Gate Bridge.

swampyankee
2012-Oct-04, 06:48 PM
I thought spires were included in height, but antennae were not. The Sears Tower (I refuse to call it the Willis Tower) should paint the antennae and call them spires.

What do you mean, Willis Tower?

What's the current name of the Pan Am Building? And is still, officially, the Chrysler Building?

Back on topic: I don't think it's practical to add floors to the Empire State Building, at least partly because building codes have changed in 80 years, and such a major modification would probably require the building be brought into compliance with current building codes.

Swift
2012-Oct-04, 07:06 PM
Originally Posted by DonM435
If it had an infinite number of floors, all of them occupied, you could ...

Occupied by turtles?

I was thinking Shakespeare typing monkeys.

NEOWatcher
2012-Oct-04, 07:20 PM
What do you mean, Willis Tower?
There are actually naming rights designed into the deed of that tower. They expired before Willis took it over.


What's the current name of the Pan Am Building?
Are you talking about the MetLife building (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MetLife_Building) as opposed to Pan Am having had offices in the Chrysler building?


And is still, officially, the Chrysler Building?
I can't find anything related to naming rights. I assume that there was no such thing back then, and history just prevented it from changing.
Modern buildings seem to be far more succeptible to name changes.

starcanuck64
2012-Oct-04, 07:27 PM
A fellow my mother worked with when I was a child was in the building that was hit by some of the debris that came off and crashed near-by. IIRC, the whole thing happened on a Saturday, and for some reason he happened to be working that day. The fact that it was a Saturday was also one of the reasons so few people were killed.

One engine flew a block and started another building on fire.

Swift
2012-Oct-04, 07:36 PM
Ah! That's a better solution. Instead of adding more floors at the bottom (or the top, if you insist) why not just increase the ceiling height by a few inches on every floor. That can't be too difficult, can it? Especially with all that alien technology the government has hidden away somewhere. :)
I got a better idea - why don't we selectively breed New Yorkers to be shorter!

DonM435
2012-Oct-04, 08:01 PM
They could do as they did with Yankee Stadium: build a bigger version nearby in the same style, then tear down the old one.

swampyankee
2012-Oct-04, 09:06 PM
They could do as they did with Yankee Stadium: build a bigger version nearby in the same style, then tear down the old one.

To to that right, all the tenants would have to whine about leaving the city first, and the new building would have to be built at city expense with a VIP-only observation floor.

Trebuchet
2012-Oct-05, 12:09 AM
To to that right, all the tenants would have to whine about leaving the city first, and the new building would have to be built at city expense with a VIP-only observation floor.

I would gladly support a constitutional amendment to the affect that the instant any millionaire sports team owner threatened to leave town if they don't get a new stadium the ownership of the team is transferred irrevocably to the city. Here in the Great Northwet, we had to build a football stadium for a team owned by the 48th richest person in the world, for whom the cost would be pretty much petty cash.

John Mendenhall
2012-Oct-05, 03:29 AM
What if you added them from the bottom, so you didn't change the profile of the building.

As I recall, the ESB is faced with limestone. If you removed all the stone, and replaced it with the plastic panels from unused Girder and Panel building sets, then you could go way higher on the existing girder structure.

starcanuck64
2012-Oct-05, 04:58 PM
I would gladly support a constitutional amendment to the affect that the instant any millionaire sports team owner threatened to leave town if they don't get a new stadium the ownership of the team is transferred irrevocably to the city. Here in the Great Northwet, we had to build a football stadium for a team owned by the 48th richest person in the world, for whom the cost would be pretty much petty cash.

I'd second that.