Empire State Building

For over 40 years the world's tallest building, the 102 story Empire State Building is a landmark, an international icon, a symbol of American capitalism and continues to attract over 2.5 million visitors yearly. Construction began on this project in November of 2001. It has been painstakingly researched for the purpose of achieving an as exact reproduction as possible. Standing over 6 feet tall and being completely illuminated from the first floor to the tip of its TV antenna, it will employ as much detail as humanly possible on a model this size. The building is built using primarily 3/16 inch square basswood columns and spandrel beams to support attached facade sections. 16 columns support the tower, 12 more for the various lower setbacks. This framework is assembled "on the ground" and the assemblies are glued in to their proper location on the building to exact ( within 1/64th inch) specifications. Some 3/16 pieces are 1/2 inch thick for interior bracing, at the 30th, 55th, 72nd, and 81st floors. The facade sections (63 in all) are built on the ground also, starting with .040 thick sheets of Lexan mounted on a template. They are scored for window locations, and each score mark is highlighted with red paint. "Limestone" piers and "chrome nickel" trim are cemented to the sheet, followed by the window spandrels, and the result is an exact visual duplication of the original. The red paint is necessary as the actual building has red window frames, originally for anti-fouling purposes but retained when all 6,444 windows were recently replaced. These walls are then glued onto 3/64 inch thick spandrels on the super structure The result is incredible realism as the model approaches the 86th floor level of exterior work. The model will feature 3 electrical circuits, 1 for office window lights, 1 for the mooring mast, and 1 for the TV tower which will employ fiber optics for aircraft warning lights, including a flashing light at the tip. Each circuit will be individually switched.

Completion, Spring 2005
Scale - 1 in = 20 feet (240:1) (72.7 inches, 1,454 feet)
Parts- approx 10,000
Materials- basswood, plastic, aluminum, steel, modeler's plywood

Please click on the links below to view construction photos.

Facade Fabrication
Spring 2004
Summer 2004
Fall - Winter 2004
2005 - 2006 Construction
Airship Terminal
Broadcast Tower & Antenna Fabrication
Construction Statistics & Information
Completed Model 2008
Background photograph: Ginger Garvey
last modified: 02/ 4/2011 18:18 PST