2011 Student Research Conference:
24th Annual Student Research Conference

Deconstructing the Steel Skeleton: Technological Advance and the Empire State Building
Melissa W. Kapitan
Dr. David Robinson, Faculty Mentor

The ability to cheaply manufacture steel with the creation of the Bessemer Process in 1856 revolutionized urban landscapes and the steel industry. Technological advances like the steel frame skeleton changed classical approaches to architecture, making incredibly high skyscrapers a possibility. Through the late nineteenth century and into the 1930s, structural steel was the number one material used in constructing skyscrapers. Amongst these buildings, the Empire State Building stands out for its fenestration, height, and the speed at which it was constructed. In order to better understand the impact of structural steel on buildings that changed the American skyline, this paper will deconstruct the frame skeleton and other technological advances through a case study of the Empire State Buildings construction.

Keywords: Technology, History, Architecture, Steel


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 42-6
Location: MG 2001
Time: 4:00

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