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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.