Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Roberto Pietroforte, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Tahar El-Korchi, Department Head

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Nima Rahbar, Committee Member




From the 1920s until present day, the technological evolution of the office building, or more specifically, the office building skyscraper has been eminent. From past to present, the functions of this building have changed dramatically and with this change, a component cost shift has occurred. An investigation of different technologies that have transformed over the years has been performed on three notable skyscrapers: the Empire State Building (1931 completion), the World Trade Center (1971 completion), and One World Trade Center (late 2013 projected completion). All buildings are located in New York City, New York and were constructed at relatively equal intervals throughout time, from each other. A building can be broken down into different elements and for this analysis; five specific components were investigated. They were the podium, also known as the foundation and floors, the load-bearing members of the structure, or frame, the veneer or curtain wall system, the interior finishes of the building and any machinery involved with the buildings functional usage. All three buildings incorporate all five of these components in their design, but there are distinctions as to how the percentages of importance of each changed as the evolution and knowledge of technology progressed throughout time. This study has addressed the different methods each building used to achieve a technological cutting edge of their respective periods of time of construction, within the scope of the five main building components.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Civil & Environmental Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





office buildings, technological evolution