viva2 banner double

The banner above shows the original VIVA 2 Flash platform interfaces for both the Empire State Building and the World Trade Center.


The original Visual Index to the Virtual Archive 2 was an online project built by The Skyscraper Museum in 2006 using Flash software, which is no longer supported by any browsers. An interactive interface provided access to The Skyscraper Museum's unique collection of more than 1,000 photographs of the construction of the Empire State Building and the World Trade Center towers. Visitors could explore the building progress for each project and view photographs of the rising structures, workers, machinery, ceremonies, and city scenes. Complete with captions and descriptions of the images, VIVA 2 allowed visitors to discover and compare the building technologies and methods of the Empire State Building in the 1930's and of the World Trade Center towers in the 1960's and the 1970's.

The purpose of this site is to reconstruct most of the content of VIVA 2 for the Empire State Building. Included is a scrapbook of over 500 original construction photographs of the Empire State Building compiled in 1931 by its general contractors, Starrett Brothers and Eken, giants in the building industry.

Those photos can still be accessed through a new interactive interface here. The Empire State Building collection also features the "Tower of Plans," which illustrates how the area of the

circulation core shrinks as the building rises while the ring of office space remains a constant 28 feet. Finally, this site includes a digital scan of the full pages of the SCRAPBOOK, as well as information on the NOTEBOOK, another artifact in the Museum's Starrett Brothers collection. The Museum published a facsimile reproduction of the Starrett Notebook as the book Building the Empire State (W.W. Norton).

Even though this site offers less interaction than the original VIVA 2 platform, it presents its full content in a simple and practical series of menus and slideshows.

The Museum is at work restoring functionality to the World Trade Center aspect of VIVA2. Click here for a key to the Museum's World Trade Center Resources. For a Finding Aid listing the slide images and IDs in the Leslie E. Robertson and Associates (LERA) Collection, see:

Guide to the Records of Leslie E. Robertson and Associates (LERA): World Trade Center Construction Images. ca. 1969-1973