Inside the Empire State Building’s 21st Century Upgrade

it's one of the world's

most famous buildings

constructed during the onset of the

great depression the empire

state building became a symbol of

american innovation

and a marker of what the united states

could achieve even during its darkest



standing as the world's tallest building

for 40 years of its life

the grandeur and scale of the empire

state inspired near universal law

and cemented it as the defining

structure of new york city


now as the structure approaches its 90th


a 10-year modernization program has

revamped the groundbreaking otis

elevator system that enabled the

original construction of the building

improved energy efficiency and brought

this 1930s skyscraper

into the 21st century

the early 20th century was a time of

great innovation and change across the

united states

and advancements in building materials

combined with a booming economy and

growing population gave rise to the


first appearing in chicago and then

across the u.s

perhaps no american city saw a greater


than new york taking the title of

world's tallest building from itself no

less than five

times between 1909 and 1931

new york city's race for the skies

captivated onlookers

as taller and taller skyscrapers began

to dominate the skyline

but the crash of 1929 brought this boom

to an

end and the demand for tall buildings

evaporated overnight

with two years of planning behind them

developers at the empire stage decided

to proceed with their project

fearing the even greater losses that

would come with cancellation

starting in 1930 and completing in just

14 months

the skyscraper set new records becoming

the tallest structure ever built

the first building to surpass a hundred

stories and housing the world's fastest

elevators of the day

an innovative installation by otis that

made the building's immense height


though it's since been eclipsed by

dozens of taller structures

the empire state building's form and

observation decks along with countless

appearances across popular culture

have retained its status as one of the

world's most famous buildings

today 90 years after its arrival on the


the empire state building is a global

leader in sustainability and energy


after a decade-long project to upgrade

the building has improved efficiency

retrofitted interiors and overhauled the

observatory experience

each of the building's 6514 windows have

been retrofitted with high performance


and a new lighting system that adapts

the levels of natural light entering the

floor plate has been installed

the heating system has been fitted with

reflective barriers to reduce heat loss

and lower the building's carbon

footprint while a multi-year elevator


undertaken by the original system

installers otis

will move passengers 50 faster during

peak times

while returning energy to the building's

grid through its regenerative drives

but while many of these upgrades will be

systematic and make the empire state one

of the most historic skyscrapers to


a lead gold certification the most

noticeable transformations for visitors

will be found throughout the observatory


the empire state building has remained

one of new york's most popular

attractions with over

4 million annual visitors and the new

upgrades help it retain that position


greeted by a new entrance lobby visitors

will now make their way through an

interactive museum to the first viewing

level on the 80th floor

this level gives visitors their first

glance of the views they'll have on the

famous 86th floor observatory

from there a custom-built glass elevator

by otis takes visitors to the renovated

102nd floor

giving them a never-before-seen look at

the inside of the building's mast on the


seeking to make the 16-story ride and

experience in itself

otis used its innovative gen 2 elevator


eliminating the need for a lift motor

room and other mechanical equipment

within the confined space of the mass


and giving visitors unobstructed views

as they travel

using less energy than rope systems and

improving passenger comfort with a steel

reinforced polyurethane belt that cuts

noise and vibration

the gen 2's small footprint makes it an

ideal choice for the confined spaces

within unique structures

the system removed the need for a

basement motor room at seoul's 556 meter

lotte world tower

transports guests at the armani hotel

and penthouses

inside the burj khalifa the world's

current tallest building

and even takes visitors to the base of

brazil's christ the redeemer statue

another iconic landmark that was

completed in the same year as the empire

state building

in fact as maximising space has become a

common goal in buildings around the


the gen 2 system has become the most

popular elevator in otis's history

despite only coming to the market in


to date more than a million units have

been sold


from its base to its summit the empire

state building has undergone one of the

largest modernisation programs of any

skyscraper to date

setting new benchmarks for energy

efficiency while retaining the historic


this made it one of the world's most

famous buildings


while the word iconic may perhaps be

overused these days

the empire state building is truly

deserving of the adjective

a timeless symbol of new york city that

can now endure

long into the future this video was made

possible by otis

to learn more about the otis gen 2

elevator and its mechanical to digital


and what's to come next click the link

below and as always if you enjoyed this

video and you'd like to get

more from the definitive video channel 4


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