To say the United States of America is influential would be an understatement, as American culture transcends frontiers and cultural divisions all over the world. When it comes to architecture, no differently than in many other aspects, the United States displays a broad variety of styles that mirror its multicultural society and all the influence that has shaped the nation over four centuries of independence from British rule. It is safe to say that anyone can recognize the Empire State building or the Statue of Liberty from a photograph, and these buildings have been imprinted in our collective memories due to their popular status. Today in Kenny Slaught’s Blog, we want to take a look at some of the most iconic buildings in the USA and talk a bit about their story and the minds that made them possible.
The Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is a 93-meter neoclassical statue located on Liberty Island in New York City. It was designed by French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi with engineering advice from both Eugene Viollet-le-Duc and Gustave Eiffel. The statue was a gift to the United States from the people of France in October of 1889 and it became a symbol of hope for immigrants who arrived to America from abroad. The statue is a hollow structure, covered with thin copper plates. It depicts the Roman goddess of freedom, Libertas.
Empire State Building
The Empire State Building was designed by William Lamb and is probably the most iconic representation of the New York City Skyline. This skyscraper was the tallest in the world when it was completed back in 1972. The art deco style structure is 1250 feet tall with a 203-foot pinnacle on top. The observation deck located on the 102th floor is one of New York’s most visited attractions every year. After September 11 of 2001, it became once again New York tallest building until the New World Trade Center passed it in height in 2012.
Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is a one-mile long suspension bridge over the channel that connects the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. This bridge is one of America’s most globally recognized structures and the American Society of Civil Engineers declared it one of the Modern World Wonders. The bridge was a collaboration of many talented people but most notably it was first proposed by James Wilkins, an engineering student, later adjusted to a lower budget by Joseph Strauss who later worked as chief engineer in the overall project with the help of Leon Moisseiff, the architect of the Manhattan Bridge in New York City.
The White House
The White House is the residence and place of work of the president of the United States of America and it has been this way since November of 1800. The design of the President’s House was the result of an architecture competition when the plans to build the Federal City were established. The winner was Irish architect James Hoban who had also designed the Charleston County Courthouse. The original design was altered to something a bit more ornate than what Hoban originally proposed.
The Lincoln Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial is an American monument built in honor of President Abraham Lincoln. The architect Henry Bacon designed the monument to resemble a Greek Doric temple with the addition of a large statue of the president sitting by the entrance. Daniel Chester French designed the statue. The face of the monument is extremely popular and it is depicted in back of the five-dollar bill and well as in the back of the one-cent coin.
The Brooklyn Bridge
Designed by John Roebling, this bridge pretty much transformed New York into the city that is today. The construction is a hybrid between suspension and cable-stayed bridge, something that was unheard of during the time when it was built. The bridge connected New York and Brooklyn during a time in which travel between them could only be accomplished by a system of ferries. The bridge was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964.
Located on the border of Arizona and Nevada, the Hoover Dam was built during the Great Depression with the purpose of providing irrigation water and producing hydroelectric power by taming the Colorado River. This arch-gravity dam was designed by John L. Savage with the help of Los Angeles-based architect Gordon B. Kaufmann who redesigned the exterior ornaments.
The Space Needle
The Space Needle is an observation tower located in Seattle, Washington that was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. Edward E. Carlson and John Graham, Jr. are responsible for this iconic building that was once the tallest landmark west of the Mississippi River. The observatory is visited by thousands of tourist every year and it houses a restaurant up top that rotates slowly providing a breathtaking view of the city below.