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Panoramas: Lower Valley
Empire State Plaza, North End
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Located at the north end of the Empire State Plaza, the New York State Capitol was initially designed by Englishman Thomas Fuller, who also designed the Parliament buildings in Ottawa, Canada. However, the Capitol that Fuller envisioned was never completed.

In 1876, Fuller was replaced by two prominent American architects, Leopold Eidlitz and Henry Hobson Richardson. Working together to evaluate and modify Fuller's design, they transformed the Capitol from a good building to a great one.

Spanning four decades, the finished Capitol took 32 years to build, from 1867 to 1899. The final cost was a staggering $25 million dollars. Today, that same structure would cost a half billion dollars to build.

Four hundred feet long and three hundred feet wide, the Capitol has five stories with a full basement and attic. It is constructed principally of gray granite and has walls over sixteen feet thick at the foundation.

With the change in architects, the exterior design became a "battle of styles", in which Italian Renaissance, Romanesque and French Renaissance were blended. However, much the real beauty of this building lies within.

The Empire State Plaza looms above the city in an expression of vertical self-containment, seperated from the rest of the city. Like Brasilia-on-the-Hudson, the Capitol complex stands as a reminder of the utopian alliance of postwar modernist architecture and big government.

Like all such ventures, the Empire State Plaza is the product of superlatives: 98 acres of city core were replaced by the Empire State Plaza. 3 million cubic yards of earth were moved, 900,000 cubic yards of concrete were poured and 232,000 tons of steel were erected.

 
 
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