CREATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF CANADIAN NATIONAL PARKS
National Parks of Canada are protected natural spaces throughout the country that represent distinct geographical regions of the nation. Under the administration of Parks Canada, a government branch, National Parks allow for public enjoyment without compromising the area for future generations, including the management of wildlife and habitat within the ecosystems of the park. Within Parks Canada’s administration is a wide range of protected areas, encompassing National Historic Sites, National Marine Conservation Areas (NMCA), and National Park Reserves.
Canada’s first national park, located in Banff, was established in 1885. Tourism and commercialization dominated early park development, followed closely by resource extraction. The process of establishing national parks has included the often forced displacement of indigenous and non-indigenous residents of areas within the proposed park boundaries. The conflicts between the creation of parks and the residents of the area have been negotiated through co-management practices, as Parks Canada acknowledged the importance of community involvement in order to sustain a healthy ecosystem .
A transition towards developing parks as a place of preservation began with the National Parks Act of 1930. This event marked a shift in park management practices. Revised in 1979 under the National Parks Policy, the Act placed greater emphasis on preserving the natural areas in an unimpaired state through ecological integrity and restoration, moving away from development based heavily on profit. Acting as national symbols, Canada’s National Parks exist in every province and territory representing a variety of landscapes that mark Canada’s natural heritage.
On July 20, 1871, the Crown Colony of British Columbia committed to Confederation with Canada. Under the union’s terms, Canada was to begin construction of a transcontinental railway to connect the Pacific Coast to the eastern provinces . As the Canadian Pacific Railway went underway in 1875 and surveyors began to study the land, location of the country’s natural resources sprouted further interest. Evidence of minerals quickly introduced the construction of mines and resource exploitation in Canada’s previously untouched wilderness. Exploration led to the discovery of hot springs near Banff, Alberta and in November 1885, the Canadian Government made the springs public property, removing them from the possibility of private ownership and exploitation . This event brought about the beginning of Canada’s movement towards preserving land and setting it aside for public usage as national parks. By the late 1880s, Thomas White, Canada’s Minister of the Interior, responsible for federal land management, Indian affairs, and natural resources extraction, began establishing a legislative motion towards establishing Canada’s first National Park in Banff .
May 1911 marked one of the most significant events in the administration and development of national parks in Canada as the Dominion Forest Reserves and Parks Act were granted royal assent . This law saw the creation of the first administrative body, the Dominion Parks Branch, now known as Parks Canada, to administer national parks in Canada. With the Branch in place, the parks system expanded from Banff eastward, combining both use and protection as the foundation to national park management .
The major motives behind the creation of national parks in Canada were profit and preservation. Inspired by the establishment and success of Yellowstone National Park in the United States, Canada blended the conflicting ideas of preservation and commercialism in order to satisfy its natural resource needs, conservationist views of modern management, a growing public interest in the outdoors and the new popularity of getting back to nature . This growing interest to escape the hustle and bustle of the city brought about ideas of conserving Canada’s unspoiled wildernesses by creating public parks. As a country dependent on natural resources, Canada’s national parks represent an example of a compromise between the demand for profit from the land’s resources and tourism, with the need for preservation and sustainable development.
While conservationist ideas and a common Canadian movement towards getting back to nature were evident in the early development of National Parks in Canada, a greater role was played by chambers of commerce, local governments, promoters of tourism and recreational groups who advocated profit-driven commercial development, while incorporating wildlife preservation when possible. Canada’s National Parks allowed the public an avenue into nature, while also integrating ideas of preserving Canada’s scenic landscape and wildlife populations in an era of development and major resource extraction.
The integration of public visitation for national parks in Canada heavily contributed to the beginnings of public constituencies for certain parks. The parks who mobilized with a public constituency tended to prosper at a faster rate. As a tactic to increase the number of people traveling to and through national parks, members of each constituency surrounding national parks began to advocate the construction of well-built roads, including the development of the Trans-Canada Highway  As the main highway traveling through the Canadian Rockies, the Trans-Canada Highway has provided accessible visitation and commerce to the area. The highway is designed to provide a heavy flow of traffic, while also including many accessible pull-offs and picnic areas. With a high-frequency of travelers and many destinations to stop, tourism boomed after the Trans-Canada Highway was established. As the highway travels through Banff and the Bow Valley area, it includes amazing views of most of the mountains, and an environment rich in wildlife .
With an increase in tourism to Rocky Mountain Park, growth and prosperity came to the town of Banff. The Banff hot springs were made more accessible after a tunnel was blasted in 1886. Horse-drawn carriages were replaced by busses and taxis, and by the 1960s small cabins had been largely replaced by hotels and motels as the community became geared towards building the national park as a tourist destination. In 1964 the first visitor service centre was established at Lake Louise Station, which included the development of a campground, trailer park, and other attractions. Cave and Basin Springs were forced to rebuild their bathing pools in 1904 and then again in 1912, because of growing public interest in the hot springs. By 1927 campground accommodations at Tunnel Mountain were adapting to include room for trailers as well as tents. Due to increased demand the campground was extended, and by 1969 it was the biggest campground in the national park system. Banff became a year round recreational centre as the growth of winter sport activities provided added incentive for tourism. The implementation of T-bars and chairlifts on Banff’s ski hills helped develop Banff into a ski and winter sports destination .
Canada National Parks Act [Електронний ресурс]. – Режим доступу : http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/N-14.01
National Geographic. Canada National Parks [Електронний ресурс]. – Режим доступу : http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/parks/canada-national-parks/
National Parks of Canada [Електронний ресурс]. – Режим доступу : http://www.national-parks-canada.com/
УКД 725.1(71)(043)=111 Мазуревич Олексій Олегович
Canadian styles. In the period after the First World War, Canadian nationalism led to attempts to proclaim a unique Canadian architecture, distinct from that of Britain and the United States. One style promoted as distinctly Canadian was the Château Style, also known as Railway Gothic. This style first appeared in the late nineteenth century with grandiose railway hotels such as the Château Frontenac and Banff Springs Hotel. It was a mix of Victorian Gothic Revival with castles of the Loire Valley in France. The railways were seen as symbols of Canada, and the mix of French and English ideas was also considered distinctly Canadian. During the Interwar years the Château style was used in several prominent public structures, such as the Supreme Court building. Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King was a prominent supporter of the style. The third and current Hotel Vancouver, the last of the great Gothic railway hotels, was also completed after the start of the Second World War, though it had been under construction until 1929 (its predecessor was Italian Renaissance, a common style in late Victorian and Edwardian British Columbia). The desire for a unique Canadian style also led to a revival of the Neo-Gothic style during the interwar period. In part because of the prominence of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa and the CPR's "railway Gothic", Gothic architecture had become closely associated with Canada and while the United States embraced Art Deco Canadian architects returned to the Middle Ages for inspiration, by way of John Ruskin's writings on Neo-Gothic, the most Victorian of all styles. When the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings burnt down in 1916 it was rebuilt in a similar Gothic style to that that had been used fifty years earlier. At the same time, Modernism inspired the Gothic style employed, and the Neo-Gothic buildings of the era often saw more sparse ornamentation and incorporated steel frames in their construction [2, 3, 4].
Modern period. At the same time developments, especially those in United States, were not ignored. Toronto closely followed Chicago and New York as the home of skyscrapers employing new steel framed construction and elevators. In the latter half of the twentieth century, Toronto's influence on other Canadian cities, largely because of the control of capital (especially banks) meant that Western Canadian cities, particularly Vancouver, became filled with lesser versions of their counterparts in which displaced the city's older and distinctly Edwardian flavour. Modernism appeared in a number of guises. In the 1920s and 1930s the banks and insurance companies embraced Modern Classicism. The Prairie Style, well suited to the Canadian terrain, became a popular one for homes and other structures, especially the designs of Francis Sullivan. In British Columbia, the bungalow style popular in British India became a fixture in local house design, and styles such as Arts and Crafts, Queen Anne and emulations of Californian Spanish and other distinctly western North America styles were common. In Vancouver during the 1950s and 1960s, Modernist architectures inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and fostered by the unique building materials and physical setting resulted in various daring new styles of housing, particularly on Vancouver's ritzy North Shore, featuring open beams, glass walls, and innovative floor plans. Vancouver architect Arthur Erickson, more known for grandiose exercises in institutional concrete such as Robson Square and Simon Fraser University, pioneered the British Columbia version of the "West Coast style", variations of which are also common in Washington, Oregon and California. Erickson-designed houses are prized for their intimacy and taste, as well as their advantageous use of natural settings. A lesser, though much more common, form of Modernist architecture developed during the 1960s was the Vancouver Special, a two-storeystuccoed box which took up most of a city lot, and typically featured two suites, one upstairs and one downstairs. The movements and styles popular in the United States and Britain were not totally ignored in Canada. Several landmark Art Deco structures were erected, such as the Vancouver City Hall and the Marine Building also in that city and Commerce Court North in Toronto. The Georgian revival that was underway in the United States also made some incursions to Canada, as did diverse styles such as Egyptian Revival and Spanish Colonial styles [1, 3, 4].
International style. After the Second World War, the desire for unique Canadian styles faded as the International Style came to dominate the Canadian scene in the 1950s through 1970s. Many of the most prominent Canadian projects of this period were designed by foreigners, who won open contests. Prominent Modernists such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and I.M. Pei designed major works in Canada. At the same time top Canadian architects did much of their work abroad. One of the first and most prominent Modernist structures was Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Toronto-Dominion Centre. The T-D Centre was one of the most prominent of the early glass and steel panelled office towers, which would be imitated around the world. The International Style period coincided with a major building boom in Canada, and few restrictions on massive building projects. International Style skyscrapers came to dominate many of Canada's major cities, especially Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Toronto. In Montreal fewer such buildings were erected, but those that were such as Place Ville-Marie and Place Victoria, were large enough to dominate the skyline. The first phase of the Toronto subway was completed 1954 as the first subway line in Canada, with sleek but austere and repetitive station architecture, influenced by the International Style. Yet the opening of the Montreal Metro opened in 1966 proved to be more architecturally significant in Canada because its individual stations each contained unique Modernist architecture with expressive uses of colour, form, and materials by different architects and incorporated works of art to enhance the experience of using the system. This influenced Toronto to take a similar course with its Spadina line by 1978, commissioning Arthur Erickson and several Canadian firms and artists. Montreal continued upon its legacy of unique station architecture in expanding its system. Vancouver's Skytrain rapid transit system relied on modern minimalist designs from its beginning in 1985, with some design variation and artwork in terms of the stations in the system which have been added since its opening. The Modernist styles had mixed results when applied to residential structures, such as the large housing projects constructed in this era. Massive Canadian housing projects, such as St. James Town, were more successful than their counterparts in the United States. The postwar period saw the rise of massive and low density suburbs surrounding most Canadian cities, with Don Mills being Canada's first community constructed on rigidly Modernist lines. One important development was the rise of shopping malls that became the commercial, and often social, centres of these suburban areas. The West Edmonton Mall was the world's largest mall for a 23 year period from 1981 until 2004. While the glass towers of the International Style skyscraper were at first unique and interesting, the idea was soon repeated to the point of ubiquity. Architects attempted to put new twists into such towers, such as the Toronto City Hall. By the 1970s an international backlash was underway against Modernism, and Canada was one of its centres. Prominent critics of Modern planning such as Jane Jacobs and George Baird were based in Canada [1, 2, 4].
Postmodernism. The 1970s represented a turning point away from the International Style and Modernist planning. Brutalist architecture had been seen in Canada prior to the decade, but became more dominant in the 1970s with the backlash against the International Style. The style emphasized the reflection of the functional components of the interior in the exterior, along with geometric and sculptural uses of concrete on the interior and exterior of the building. It was a style used focally for institutional buildings for government, academic, and cultural uses, but also for high-rise residential and commercial buildings. At the same time, urban activists, architects and governments increasingly moved to influence development in favour of heritage preservation, historic view corridor preservation, and contextual sensitivity in scale and materials. The new Canadian architecture once again turned to the past. A prominent heritage preservation movement developed, and most cities today have heritage districts of restored structures. Old factories and warehouses, rather than be demolished, have been refurbished, such as the Queen's Quay Terminal, a former warehouse at a prominent central location on the Toronto waterfront that was rebuilt into a mix of stores, residential condominiums, and a theatre. New buildings have also begun to echo the past. Ronald Thom's Massey College is a notable early example completed in 1963. It adds strong Gothic influences to a Modern concrete, brick, and glass aesthetic. Postmodern architecture was the mainstream style in Canada by the 1980s. Postmodernity in architecture is generally thought to be heralded by the return of "wit, ornament and reference" to architecture in response to the formalism of the International Style of Modernism and perceived problems with the style. The functional and formalized shapes and spaces of the Modernist movement were replaced by unapologetically diverse aesthetics: styles collide, form is adopted for its own sake, and new ways of viewing familiar styles and space abound. Architects produced what they perceived to be more meaningful buildings with pluralism, double coding, flying buttresses and high ceilings, irony and paradox, and contextualism. Skyscrapers like 1000 de La Gauchetière in Montreal, Brookfield Place in Toronto, and Bankers Hall in Calgary define the style in terms of high-rise corporate architecture. These towers feature combinations of International Style design features with ornamental and potentially symbolic references to past architectural styles such as Art Deco, with pronounced base, middle, and top sections, and prominent atrium common spaces. The Mississauga Civic Centre completed in 1987 is an important example of public architecture in the style. It makes reference to local farm architecture around the suburban area of Mississauga as well as a clocktower—a feature associated with traditional city centres. It exhibits references to past architectural ideas, yet is decidedly untraditional. The Vancouver Public Library similarly evokes Postmodern aesthetic ideals, though references a different architectural past, demonstrating the eclectic nature of the style in Canada. Postmodernism visibly declined by the 2000s, when architecture in Canada became more varied. Lowrise residential subdivision architecture became more strongly focused on imitating traditional styles from the likes of the Georgian and Victorian eras, though low-rise infill projects in cities demonstrated an increased popularity of the Modern aesthetic. High-rise architecture generally turned to new variations on the International Style. Starchitects received commissions to design a small number of prominent urban landmarks. Renewed interest and appreciation for Modernism has led to increased calls for its preservation and even overt architectural homages to it, such as X Condominium in Toronto [2, 3, 4].
Thearchitecture of Canadais closely linked to the techniques and styles developed in Canada, Europe and the United States. However, design has long needed to be adapted to Canada's climate and geography, and at times has also reflected the uniqueness of Canadian culture. Canada's geography is highly diverse, and there are thus important differences in architecture. In most of Canada building materials are abundant, and the price of lumber and stone are low. However, the development of the Canadian architecture goes on and makes new foundations.
1. Ricketts, Shannon; Leslie Maitland, Jacqueline Hucker, A guide to Canadian architectural styles, Broadview Press, 2004
2. The Canadian Encyclopedia, Architecture in Canada
УДК 39(417)(043)=111 Мозгалов Дмитро Леонідович
CULTURE AND TRADITIONS OF IRELAND
Ireland, or the Republic of Ireland, is a country in Western Europe, occupying most of the island of Ireland. The area of the country is 70.2 thousand km ². The name of the country comes from the Irish word Éire – a state. The capital is the city of Dublin, which is home to about a quarter of the entire population of the country (1.4 million).
The Coat of arms of Ireland is a golden harp with silver strings on a blue shield. The Harp has long been a heraldic symbol of Ireland. The modern form of coat of arms was approved on November 9, 1945.
The Flag of Ireland is the national symbol of Ireland. It has a 1:2 ratio, and consists of three bands – green, white and orange, – in sequence from left to right. Green represents the Catholics, orange – the Protestants, and white – peace between the two communities.
Ireland's national anthem is the “Soldier's Song”. Originally, the text was written in 1907 by Pedara Kearney (Peadar Kearney) in English. Then, together with Patrick Heaney (Patrick Heeney) there was written the music, and Liam O'Reilly (Liam Ó Rinn) translated the text into Irish. For the first time, the lyrics were published in English by Ballmer Hobson in the newspaper Irish Freedom («Irish Freedom») in 1912. The song became popular among Irish republicans and was executed by the rebels during the Easter Rising of 1916, and later – in the British prison camps. The Irish text first appeared in print on November 3, 1923 in the Journal of the Irish Defence Forces An Óglach. In 1934, the Irish government bought the copyright to the song for 1200 pounds.
Ireland was first settled a long time ago, in 7500 BC by Mesolithic fishermen and hunters, probably from Scotland. They have replaced the Neolithic people who used flint tools, and then the people of the Mediterranean, known in legends as Fir Bolg, who used bronze implements. Later came the Picts, as the Bronze Age people who possibly were of Iberian origin.
During the Iron Age, Celtic invasion introduced a new cultural stream in Ireland. The oldest examples of a Celtic language (Gaeilge) found on the ogham inscriptions on stone in Kerry County are dated back to the 5th century.
Ireland was converted to Christianity by Saint Patrick in the 5th century. Churches and monasteries had become channels through which Christian art penetrated into the rough and warlike life of the Celts.
Irish art during the period of English dominance is usually considered as part of the English culture. In the 17th century, many Irish painters and sculptors had achieved fame, whereby it is possible to speak about the formation of the Irish school of painting. James Arthur O'Connor was a prominent landscape artist of the period, and Daniel McLees created magnificent frescoes in the Royal Gallery of the House of Lords. Among the Irish painters of the 19th century European fame got Nathaniel Hone Jr. and Walter F. Osborne.
Irish musicians were known throughout Europe as early as the 12th century. The most famous of these was a blind harpist Turlaf O’Karolan (Turlough O’Carolan), who wrote about 200 songs, mostly for its patrons. Many of his works were published in 1720 in Dublin. His music for the harp is still performed around the world.
Irish folk music is very diverse: from lullabies to drinking songs, instrumental tunes from slow to fast flaming dances, and their important role is the use of the variations and nuances of rhythm and melody. Edward Bunting produced the first collection of traditional Irish tunes and songs, which issued in 1796.
Constant wars in the struggle for survival, the beautiful legends of the true and only love, tales of Irish folklore – all this should be reflected in a very original version of the Irish tap dance, which over the centuries of history of this nation has turned into an incredibly beautiful dance, from which it is simply impossible to look away.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, the former dancers had to travel for a living all over Ireland, and they gave their presentation at festivals and folk fairs, as always played in pubs, where the space for their dance was given very little, often dancers had to show their art on plain barrel of beer, where they were waving their arms, legs, or jump.
There are a lot of customs and traditions in Ireland – new and old. One of the strange customs that existed in Ireland – is a way to celebrate a birthday. The Birthday boy was turned upside down and “gently” hit his head on the floor (for good luck) as many times as he had reached years plus one. According to another Irish tradition, the wedding ceremony was to go on the longest road from the church to the house after the wedding ceremony.
New York City, the largest city in the United States, is home to 5,845 completed high-rises , 97 of which stand taller than 600 feet (183 m). The tallest building in New York is the under-construction One World Trade Center, which rises 1,776 feet (541 m) and was topped out on May 10, 2013 . The 104-story skyscraper also stands as the tallest building in the United States, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and the 3rd-tallest building in the world . The tallest completed building in the city is the 102-story Empire State Building in Midtown Manhattan, which was finished in 1931 and rises to 1,250 feet (381 m), increased to 1,454 feet (443 m) by its antenna . It also is the fourth-tallest building in the United States and the 23rd-tallest building in the world. The Empire State Building stood as the tallest building in the world from its completion until 1972, when the 110-story North Tower of the original World Trade Center was completed. At 1,368 feet (417 m), One World Trade Center briefly held the title as the world's tallest building until the completion of the 108-story Sears Tower (now known as the Willis Tower) in Chicago in 1974. The World Trade Center towers were destroyed by terrorist attacks in 2001, and the Empire State Building regained the title of tallest building in the City. The third-tallest building in New York is the Bank of America Tower, which rises to 1,200 feet (366 m), including its spire . Tied for fourth-tallest are the 1,046-foot (319 m) Chrysler Building, which was the world's tallest building from 1930 until 1931,  and the New York Times Building, which was completed in 2007.New York City skyscrapers are concentrated in Midtown and Lower Manhattan, although other neighborhoods of Manhattan and the boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens and The Bronx also have significant numbers of high-rises. As of January 2011, the entire city has 228 buildings that rise at least 500 feet (152 m) in height, including those under construction, more than any other city in the United States. Since 2003, New York City has seen the completion of 22 buildings that rise at least 600 feet (183 m) in height. Fourteen more are under construction, including One World Trade Center, which became the tallest building in the city upon the completion of its 408-foot (124 m) spire in 2013 . One World Trade Center is part of the complex that will replace the destroyed World Trade Center, which also includes three more under-construction skyscrapers: the 1,350-foot (411 m) 2 World Trade Center,1,240-foot (378 m) 3 World Trade Center and 975-foot (297 m) 4 World Trade Center. Overall, as of May 2013, there were 205 high-rise buildings under construction or proposed for construction in New York City .
The history of skyscrapers in New York City began with the completion of the World Building in 1890; the structure rose to 348 feet (106 m). Though not the city's first high-rise, it was the first building to surpass the 284-foot (87 m) spire of Trinity Church. The World Building, which stood as the tallest in the city until 1899, was demolished in 1955 to allow for the construction of an expanded entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge.
New York has played a prominent role in the development of the skyscraper; since 1890, eleven structures in the city having held the title of world's tallest building. New York City went through a very early high-rise construction boom that lasted from the early 1910s through the early 1930s, during which 16 of the city's 82 tallest buildings were built—including the Woolworth Building, the Bank of Manhattan Trust Building, the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, each of which was the tallest in the world at the time of its completion.
A second skyscraper boom began in the early 1960s. Since then, the city has seen the completion of nearly 70 structures rising at least 600 feet (183 m) high, including the twin towers of the World Trade Center. One World Trade Center, also known as the North Tower, was the tallest building in the world from 1972 until 1973 and the tallest building in New York City until 2001. The North Tower, as well as the other six buildings in the World Trade Center complex, was destroyed in the September 11 attacks of 2001. One World Trade Center began construction in 2006 as the lead building of the new World Trade Center complex; upon its topping out in May 2013, the 1,776-foot (541 m) skyscraper surpassed the Willis Tower to become the tallest building in the United States .
The World Trade Center .The cubic base gives way to an octagonal plan at center whilst the glass parapet is square in plan and rotated 45 degrees from the base. The mid section's octagonal plan is achieved by facade planes which are comprised of eight alternately inverted isosceles triangles with bevelled edges.
The tower's structure is organized around a strong, redundant steel frame which consists of columns and beams linked by a combination of bolting and welding, and resists lateral loads through the bending of the frame's elements.
The height of the observation decks matches the height of the original World Trade Center's Twin Towers. The final height of 1,776 ft (541 m) is reached by a cable-supported antenna which rises from a circular support ring and recalls the torch held aloft by the Statue of Liberty.
The building has an emergency stairway dedicated to firefighters.
For security reasons, the building is set back approximately 90 ft (27.4 m) from West Street. The tower has extra strong fireproofing whilst the air supply system incorporates chemical and biological filters; emergency stairs are extra-wide and pressurized. The tower is designed to have a high degree of environmental sustainability.
Each floor has a refuge area whilst enhanced elevators are housed in a protected central building core which serves all of the tower's floors.
A three-foot thick core houses One World Trade Center's life-safety systems (elevators, risers, communications, stairs and sprinklers); the advanced life safety systems exceed that required by the New York City Building Code.
Foundation work started in July 2006.The 408-feet tall decorative spire will encase an antenna with a lighting system to make it into a beacon. Ground for actual construction (different from the cornerstone placing) was broken on April 27, 2006.One World Trade Center has become the highest building in New York City by April 30, 2012.The maximum elevator speed will be 540 m/min .
The Bank of America Tower.The tallest building demolished to make way for the tower is Remington Building. Popular Science gave the building the title of the Best Engineering of What's New in 2005 for its being "The Most Amibitious Eco-Friendly Sky Scraper" in the December 2005 edition. The tower has two spires, the 365.76 meter (1200 foot) one is architectural and the 292.61 meter (960 foot) one has a wind turbine that generates electricity for the building. The southern roof rises to 287.88 meters (944 feet 6 inches) and the northern roof rises to 258.47 meters (848 feet). Urinals are waterless which save three million gallons of water per annum. A 5 MW on-site gas generator with heat capture provides the building with two thirds of its annual energy requirements.
The Empire State Building.More than any other building in the world, the Empire State Building represents the ambition of humans to build towers that reach for the skies. The skyscraper is probably New York's best known building and can be seen on many postcards. The Empire State Building also features in many films, most notably the classic film 'King Kong' from 1933. Even today, though the building has been stripped from its title of the world's tallest building, it is a symbol of New York itself, visited by more than three million people each year. At the time when it was built in the early 1930s on Fifth Avenue, the Empire State Building broke all records and was dubbed 'the 8th world wonder'. The building had 64 elevators (now 73) and was constructed in only 1 year and 45 days. The skyscraper towered over the neighborhood with its height of 381 meters (1250 ft). As the Empire State Building was one of the last skyscrapers built before the Great Depression hit the real estate market, it wouldn't be topped until 1972, when the twin World Trade Towers dethroned the Empire State Building as the world's tallest building. The Empire State Building is built on a full city block. Much of it was occupied by the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, which opened in November 1897 as the city's largest hotel with 1050 rooms. It was one the most prestigious in New York and attracted an upper-class clientele. At the end of the 1920s however, the grand and plush design of the hotel had gone out of style and Waldorf-Astoria decided to build a new, larger hotel uptown. After the site was cleared, construction started on March 17, 1930. Thanks to an efficient design and standardized work - similar to an assembly line - the building would rise at an average of about four and a half floors a week, faster than any other skyscraper at the time. The building was officially inaugurated on May 1, 1931 in the presence of governor Franklin D. Roosevelt.