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Photographer's Note

Another in my ongoing project to visit and photograph all 50 US state capitol buildings. This series is from Albany, the capital city of New York.

The state capitol of the state of New York lies at the heart of Albany, atop Capitol Hill and at the Northern edge of Empire Plaza. The building was completed in 1899, but took 32 years to finish because of construction delays, architect changes, style changes, and massive costs. Adjusted for inflation, it is today still the most expensive public building ever built in the United States - $25 million dollars in 1899, now worth approximately $500 million!

The building itself tells its own story through its architectural details. Though originally begun in a Romanesque style, the first architects were fired 8 years into the project; the next architectural firm continued in a Renaissance style. When that firm was itself fired in 1883, the building was completed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson in a distinct Romanesque style all his own. He redid much of the building in that style, though remnants of the originals do still exist, especially in the interior.

The building is one of only a handful of capitol buildings in the US that lacks a dome, spire or cupola of any kind; only Virginia, Nebraska, North Dakota, New Mexico, Alaska and Hawaii join it. A massive dome was originally planned for the building, but it was discovered that the building was already too heavy and was in fact moving slowly eastward, sliding down the hill. A large and ornate staircase was added on that side to stop its progress.

The capitol building cost was controversial enough already when Governor Nelson Rockefeller began his ambitious plan to expand state government by creating Empire Plaza, a $2 billion dollar renovation of central Albany in a brutalist and modernist style - see my previous several shots for a look at the Plaza.

This shot shows the New York Capitol, once again through the yellow arches of the 'Trio' sculpture, one of many pieces of modern sculpture in Empire Plaza. I was reminded by John (tyro) yesterday that I failed to upload a workshop showing the sculpture in its entirety; that workshop is uploaded here instead.

Larger version on Flickr, here.
New York set on Flickr, here.

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Additional Photos by Andrew Lipsett (ACL1978) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 883 W: 75 N: 1688] (7467)
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