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Equitable Life Building

Equitable Life Building (59)

The first Equitable Life Building opened in 1870 right here. It was 7 floors high, about 43 metres, but was considered the first skyscraper in the world. But the truth is that it was the first office building with a totally secure elevator, an invention that Otis presented to the Crystal Palace Fair in New York. Yes, for the first time it was completely safe, available as an innovative system that blocked the fall if the rope moving the lift up and down broke. 

The truth is that it was an invention that completely changed the real estate business. Before the first floors were the most coveted, since no one wanted to climb too many stairs to the office. Instead, after the Equitable Life Building, the highest levels became popular due to more light, more air, less noise and the view of the city.

Already in 1912 the building came under because of a fire and in 1915 it was rebuilt to how it looks today, the new Equitable Life building. Designed by Ernest R. Graham in a neoclassical style, it has 40 floors and is164 metres high, seen from above it looks like a huge H.

In 1916, this building is also known to have triggered a series of restrictive measures that would limit the height and mass of skyscrapers for heat and sunlight to reach the level of the streets of New York, a small setback in the city's architectural career. As an immediate consequence of these measures, this was the largest office building in the world, in square metres, until the construction of the famous Empire State Building in 1931.

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