Building the Empire State

The video begins with an illustrated talk by Carol Willis and Donald Friedman and is followed by a Q&A.


In 1998, The Skyscraper Museum published Building the Empire State (NY: W.W. Norton), which contains a facsimile of a typescript notebook, literally pages in a 3-ring binder, of a manuscript compiled between approximately 1929 and 1931 by Starrett Brothers & Eken, Inc. titled "Notes on Construction of Empire State Building." The document contains 71 numbered sheets of typed text on notebook-sized graph paper. The finding aid for this collection is part of the Records of HRH Construction. Interspersed throughout the notebook are 33 sheets of brown pressboard on which are mounted 70 black and white photographs, developed from the same negatives as some of the photographs found in the photograph album.

Building the Empire State was edited by Carol Willis and includes overview essays by Willis, the Museum’s Director and by the structural engineer and historian Donald Friedman.

Donald Friedman, president of Old Structures Engineering,is the author of several books, including Historical Building Construction (1995, rev. 2010). His book, The Structures of Skyscrapers in America, 1871-1900: Their History and Preservation (APT, 2020) surveys the development of high-rise buildings across the country in the last decades of the 19th century.

Carol Willis is the founder and director of the Skyscraper Museum. She is also the author of Form Follows Finance.