Famous Building Fun Facts

Eiffel TowerBy now, were sure that our dedicated blog followers know all the hard hitting facts about our Hercules Truss Arch Buildings. For example, if we asked what our trusses are made of, we know you would instantly respond with American-made, triple-galvanized steel, and bonus points if you add on the 50-year frame warranty. While we could easily talk about our structures until the cows come home, we wanted to mix things up this week and share with you some interesting facts about famous structures from around the world.  

Did you know that the Great Pyramid of Giza was the tallest man made structure in the world for over 3,800 years? It wasn’t until the Lincoln Cathedral was completed during the Early Medieval period that any man-made structure stood taller than this ancient tomb. Even though the pyramid has lost approximately 33 feet over the years, due to weathering and other natural causes, this structure still stands at an impressive 480 feet high.

The Great Pyramid of Giza

Potentially one of the most iconic structures in the entire world, the Eiffel Tower has become famous for its romantic appeal, as well as its structural appeal. Construction was finally completed on the 1,063 foot tall structure in 1889, but did you know that the French civil engineers responsible for building the tower had a hidden agenda? During this time period, many argued that iron could never be as strong as stone. To prove that it could, engineer Gustave Eiffel built the all iron tower for the 1889 World’s Fair. In the end, Eiffel and his construction team built a wrought-iron tower that was twice the height and weighed 70,000 tons less than the world’s tallest stone building, the Washington Monument. We think it’s also worth mentioning that the Eiffel Tower is built from trusses, we know a thing or two about trusses and all we can say about this structure is “c’est magnifique.”

Building the Eiffel Tower

Staying with the Eiffel Tower, did you know that it takes 50 tons of signature “Eiffel Tower brown” paint to entirely repaint the tower? Every seven years, a team of painters scale the tower to repaint every inch, including each and every nut and bolt. The project takes roughly 18 months to complete and to this day, painters use small, circular brushes similar to the ones used in 1889. Still think that painting the house is a big project?

Painting Eiffel Tower

We’ve all heard about the crafty car salesman, but no one has ever been as burned by the automotive industry as the Bank of Manhattan Trust Company was in 1929. Automotive tycoon, Walter Chrysler agreed to fund the construction of the Chrysler Building right in the midst of an intense race to build the world’s tallest skyscraper. The race between the Chrysler Building and the Bank of Manhattan Trust Company was particularly close and highly competitive. While competition was even throughout, the Bank of Manhattan Trust Company finished construction first and saw no opportunity for the Chrysler Building to surpass them. Building designer, H. Craig Severance publicly claimed that the Bank of Manhattan Trust Company building was officially the tallest in the world. After this claim, William Van Alen, architect for the Chrysler Building, gained permission to build a 125 foot long spire to go atop his building. This spire was then secretly built inside, on the bottom floor of the Chrysler Building. On October 23, 1929, the spire was raised up through the building and placed on the roof, making the Chrysler Building the official winner by 119 feet.

Top of the Chrysler Building

As a proud American company, we couldn’t write a building blog without some fun facts about the building that was voted “America’s Favorite Architecture” by the American Institute of Architects in 2007; the Empire State Building. The Empire State Building stands at 1,454 feet tall, making it the fourth-tallest building in the United States and 25th-tallest building in the world. With its incredible size, there are of course many businesses that call this building home, but did you know that there are actually so many businesses at the Empire State Building that it has its own zip code? That’s right, if you’re sending a letter to someone at the Empire State Building be sure to put down 10118 for your zip code.

Empire State Building

The zip code may cause some shock and awe, but if you really want shocking, get a glimpse of the building during a thunderstorm. The Empire State Building is essentially a lightning rod for the surrounding area. On average the building is struck by lightning 23 times per year.

Lightning at Empire State Building

The lightning fact can raise some eyebrows, but this next one may just knock your socks off. Did you know it took just 13 months to complete work on the Empire State Building? 1,000 plus feet tall, made up of 200,000 cubic feet of Indiana Limestone, and it took just over one year to complete. That construction team could build one and a quarter Empire State Buildings in the time it takes to repaint the Eiffel Tower! We here at ClearSpan Fabric Structures get our buildings up quickly, but that kind of work is hard for even us to believe.

Lunch atop the Empire State Building

Do you have any other fun construction facts or interesting notes on famous buildings for us? Let us know by leaving them in the comment section below.

3 comments

  1. Bonjour, I would like to know if I can Buy one of those photos, but with different size , if I can, I will give you, the right

    1. Hi Jocelyne,

      Most of these photos are available online. We do not own the rights and therefore cannot sell them nor do we control the sizes available. We hope you are able to find what you are looking for however.

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