The Staggering Number Of Bricks That Make Up The Empire State Building

Frankly, we human beings can be a resource-hungry lot. According to the United Nations, the global population is projected to hit eight billion people in mid-November 2022. That means an astronomical demand for food, energy, and everything else that the vast majority of us has taken for granted at times. 

Our continued impact on the planet remains a crucial issue for humanity to tackle, but for as long as we've existed, we've had positive impacts on our world too. We've created some truly stunning monuments and buildings that speak to just how far we have come as a species and how much we can achieve. 

The United States boasts a wide array of such buildings, each of which serve as essential tourist attractions in their own right. One iconic example is the Empire State Building. According to ThoughtCo., this New York City skyline defining achievement was the world's tallest building at the time of its completion. Unsurprisingly, its construction was quite the challenge, and the number of bricks it took is just mind boggling.

The remarkable people who built the Empire State Building

As Britannica reports, the Empire State Building project kicked off in August 1929. Shreve, Lamb & Harmon Associates, the architects for the building, proudly proclaimed that it would boast more than 100 floors, a skyscraper the likes of which the world had never seen before.

That, it certainly was. The outlet goes on to explain that the building was completed in a little over a year (around 13 months), with the grand opening taking place in May of 1931. How did they manage this furiously fast feat? Walks Of New York credits the legions of talented builders and metal workers, who ably perched at dizzying heights above the streets. As many as 3,000 people toiled away at it at any one time. According to the outlet, the "New York Times" reported that "they maneuvered into place as a crosspiece by hanging to the cable rope and steering the beam with their feet, then strolling on the thin edge of nothingness."

It was a daunting, astounding project. The Empire State Realty Trust lays bare the incredible scale of the building: it weighs 365,000 tons, and was put together at a rate of 4.5 stories every week. The construction required 730 tons of metal, and around 10 million bricks were used.

10 million of the most famous bricks in history

Britannica reports that the Empire State Building was the biggest in the world for some decades, until the United States beat its own record with One World Trade Center in 1972 (not the lone structure that graces NYC's skyline today, but the original World Trade Center tower). By that time, the Empire State Building itself had varied in height somewhat, with the addition of another antenna, but that itself changed again in the mid-1980s.

As per Guinness World Records, the UAE's Burj Khalifa was dubbed the new tallest building in the world in January 2010. It reportedly stands at a formidable 2,716 ft. 6 in., which makes it more than double the size of the Empire State Building.

There will always be competition for prestigious titles like the planet's tallest building, and it has been held by numerous buildings over the years. None of this is to take away, though, from the astonishing human achievements that have come before.