30 Rockefeller Plaza Buiding

30 Rockefeller Plaza Building
  1. About the 30 Rockefeller Plaza Buiding in New York
    1. Building Catalogations
  2. 30 Rockefeller Plaza Buiding's architect and team
  3. 30 Rockefeller Plaza Buiding's architectureal style
  4. 30 Rockefeller Plaza Buiding's spaces and uses
  5. Structure and materials of the 30 Rockefeller Plaza Buiding

The 30 Rockefeller Plaza Buiding is an Art-deco skyscraper designed in 1931 by Howells & Hood and built between 1932 and 1933 in New York, NY.

30 Rockefeller Plaza Buiding is not the only name you might know this building by though. It is common for companies to want to attach their names to iconic buildings when they move in, or for the general public to come up with nicknames, and this one is no exception. The building has changed names several times over the years, and is also known as:

  • RCA Building between 1933 and 1988.
  • GE Building between 1988 and 2015.
  • Comcast Building from 2015 until this day.

Its precise street address is 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY. You can also find it on the map here.

The 30 Rockefeller Plaza Buiding is a structure of significant importance both for the city of New York and the United States as a nation. The building embodies the distinctive characteristic features of the time in which it was built and the Art Deco style. Because of that, the 30 Rockefeller Plaza Buiding was officially declared as a national landmark on April 23rd 1985.

The building underwent a major restoration in 2014.

Building's timeline

Design completed
1931
93
Construction begins
1932
92
RCA Building
1933
91
Declared NL
1985
39
GE Building
1988
36
a
Restoration
2014
10
Comcast Building
2015
9
years ago
2024
  1. 2014 - Interior renovation of all floors.

Architect and team

Howells & Hood was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design.

But that's not all, there was also a whole team of architects involved, which included: Reinhard & Hofmeister, and Corbett Harrison & MacMurray.

Howells & Hood was a prominent American architectural firm founded by John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood. The partnership between these two architects left a lasting legacy in the world of skyscraper design during the early 20th century.

Unlike other firms at the time, which would limit their area of influence to a single city or state, Howells & Hood’s buildings can be found in multiple locations, from New York to Chicago.

They are particularly known for their innovative approach to skyscraper design, and their role in this typology progressing from the neogothic and neoclassical to the more modern art-deco style.

Howells Hood

Howells & Hood and the other architects already mentioned were in charge of the architectural design, however, architecture is a complex discipline, which usually involves many professionals from different fields, without whom this building would have not been possible. We will surely be leaving out a lot of names here, but here is a list of the people we do know also played their part in making the 30 Rockefeller Plaza Buiding a reality:

  • Edwards & Hjorth; H.G. Balcom & Associates in charge of Structural Engineering
  • Westinghouse as the company in charge of the elevators system
  • John D. Rockefeller Jr. as the Main Developer
  • Lee Lawrie as the collaborating Artist

Architectural Style

The 30 Rockefeller Plaza Buiding can be categorized as an Art-deco building.

The Art Deco movement flourished during the 1920s and 1930s, with many historians marking the outbreak of World War II as its final decline. Even though a couple of decades might not seem as much, the Art Deco movement had a great impact on architecture, and it's widely represented in many American cities due to the development boom that happened during that time.

Art Deco marked the abandonment of traditional historicism and the embracement of modern living and the age of the machine. In architecture, that meant leaving behind the ornaments of Beux-Arts and Neo-Gothic buildings and instead favoring simplicity and visual impact through geometric shapes, clean lines, and symmetrical designs. Ornaments were still an important part of the design, but they became bold and lavish, and were often inspired by ancient cultures or industrial imagery, instead of nature.

The 30 Rockefeller Plaza Buiding was completed in 1933, right when the Art Deco movement was at its peak, so it kind of went with the trend at that time.

Spaces & Uses

The 30 Rockefeller Plaza Buiding reaches an architectural height of 853ft (260m). It has a total of 73 floors, 70 above ground and 3 basements, served by 60 elevators.

The building sits on a 958,310 sqf (89,030m2) piece of land , and offers a total of 2,099,983 sqf (195,095m2) of usable space.

If you want to get a nice view of New York the 30 Rockefeller Plaza Buiding offers an observatory deck. You can plan your visit to the Top of the Rock by visiting its website here.

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 1933, the 30 Rockefeller Plaza Buiding has mainly been used as Commercial space.

853ft (260m)
3 basements

Materials & Structure

The 30 Rockefeller Plaza Buiding uses a frame structure made of steel columns and concrete slabs.

A frame structure uses a combination of beams and columns to sustain the building's weight. The walls in this case are non-load bearing, which allows for more flexibility when distributing the interior spaces.

The facade is non-load bearing either, as it is common in frame structure type buildings.

From an aesthetic point of view, the facade features a Deer Island granite cladding on the first floor, with the rest of the building being cladded with limestone brought from Indiana and prefabricated aluminum parapets.

Other materials found at the 30 Rockefeller Plaza Buiding include, gray marble, used in the lobby walls, bronze, found in moldings walls and rectangular floor patterns, and black terrazo , used for the interior floors.

Sources

  • s-media.nyc.gov