Empire State Plaza. What to say. Built between 1959 and 1976 at the request of Governor Nelson Rockefeller, this iconic, though highly criticized project was meant to make a bold statement, and intended to demand attention. The project used the cities of Brasilia, Versailles, and Chandigarh as models for his concept. At a cost of nearly 2 billion dollars, the plaza underwent major obstacles including the implementation of unrealistic schedules of completion, and poor working conditions that would later cause the state money through lawsuits. Many see Empire State Plaza as a poster child for urban renewal in this time period.
Controversy surrounded the plaza from the start due to not only its cost, size, and appearance, but most notably from its displacement of people. Nine thousand were displaced for its realization, mostly Jewish and Italian people. The construction began at a time of downtown Albany declining economically, with this urban renewal project expedited its decline.
The site is 98.5 acres, with 13,000 government employees. It is constructed using prominently Marble and Steel. The plaza rests on a six-story platform, a reflection of Rockefeller's idea of Architecture as sculpture. The plaza includes The Four Agency office buildings, The Mayor Erastus Corning Tower, The Egg theater, The Cultural education Center, The Robert Abrams Building, The Legislative Office Building, and the Swan Street Building. The Corning Tower is the tallest building in New York State outside of New York City at 179.6 meters and 44 stories. The Four Agency towers are 23 stories. At the North end of the plaza is the New York Capitol Building, completed in 1899.
These photos are from July of 2013, at the beginning of a road trip to some of eastern Canada which I will post in a week or two