WASHINGTON – Straddled by King Kong and host to Cary Grant's 1957 cinematic love affair,the Empire State Building is no stranger to notoriety.
Now the 1,454-foot skyscraper has topped the list of America's 150 favorite works of architecture. The list,compiled by the American Institute of Architects and Harris Interactive from a nationwide poll of more than 1,800 people,includes national monuments,hotels and airports.
“The Empire State Building is a symbol of the strength and vitality of New York City,an engineering wonder of its age,” said R.K. Stewart,the institute's president,as he announced the winners at a press conference Wednesday.
The survey exemplifies the institute's message for its 150 year anniversary: celebrating the past and designing the future.
Stewart,who spoke in a cramped room of reporters and architects in the Rayburn House Office Building across the street from the Capitol,said the survey “captured the hearts of people” because it reflected places where so many shared memories.
“Americans choose buildings that invoke strong emotions,” he added.
Washington had six of the top 10 picks,including the White House,which snagged second place,and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial,rounding out the list at 10th place.
Chicago's Wrigley Field beat out New York's Yankee Stadium,31st place to 84th,but New York ultimately ruled the list,landing 33 spots. Notables such as the Dakota Apartments,where John Lennon lived and was shot in 1980,and Radio City Music Hall,the city's most famous theater,came in at 87 and 100 respectively.
Two of the city's Apple stores made the list. The Fifth Avenue location made 53 and the Soho spot landed at 141.
The legendary and eccentric Frank Lloyd Wright had eight projects on the list,more than any other architect. His Guggenheim Museum in New York placed 74th and his Taliesin West,located in Scottsdale,Ariz.,placed 123rd.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer,D-Ore.,praised all the recipients and the architecture field when he spoke at the conference. “I'm not an architect but I want to be,” he said pointing to his colorful bowtie,a reference to the sometimes eccentric dress of architects.
Blumenauer announced a resolution to celebrate the architectural profession during National Architecture Week,which runs April 9 to 14.
That week will include a traveling exhibit across the country depicting all 150 winners.
Architects nominated 248 structures,and the random sample of adults was interviewed online in December and January. Each respondent was shown photographs of a random sample of 78 of the nominated structures.
“This profession adds to our lives.” Blumenauer said. “It enhances the vitality of the community.”
10 Favorite U.S. Buildings
- Empire State Building,New York
- White House,Washington
- Washington National Cathedral,Washington
- Jefferson Memorial,Washington
- Golden Gate Bridge,San Francisco
- U.S. Capitol,Washington
- Lincoln Memorial,Washington
- Biltmore Estate-Vanderbilt Mansion,Asheville,N.C.
- Chrysler Building,New York
- Vietnam Veterans Memorial,Washington
For a complete list of winners,go to the AIA Web site.