NYC’s Empire State Building & Other Iconic American Architecture

On this day in 1931, President Herbert Hoover dedicated the Empire State Building in New York City. For 40 years this icon of American architecture was the tallest building in the world, with 102 stories and rising 1,250 feet above the ground. The anniversary got me thinking about other wonderful American buildings that have appeared on stamps. Here are just a few of my favorites:

Charles and Ray Eames completed Case Study House #8 in 1949 as part of a program to create affordable homes out of materials and technology developed during World War II. Located in Pacific Palisades, California, the house is composed of two two-story structures made of steel and glass and connected by an open court. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006.

Two identical apartment towers of steel and glass, each 26 stories tall, opened at 860-880 Lake Shore Drive in Chicago in 1951. Their pristine, spare elegance was the hallmark of architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s famous principle that “less is more.”

A masterpiece of the Prairie style of architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House (completed in 1910) in Chicago was an important forerunner to modernism.

A National Historic Landmark, the Baltimore Cathedral in Maryland calls itself “America’s First Cathedral.” The cathedral, which was designed by Benjamin Latrobe and built between 1806 and 1821, sits on a hill overlooking Baltimore Harbor.

The central reading room in the powerful library at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire is circled by balconies containing the stacks. Study carrels are positioned along the perimeter of the building, where small windows at eye level can be closed by sliding wooden shutters. Architect Louis I. Kahn’s library for this noted prep school was completed in November 1971.

What’s your favorite building featured on a stamp? Let us know in the comments.

© Eames Office LLC 2007