Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Otherwise known as the shorter of Albany's two towers: The Alfred E. Smith State Office Building. I posted a few of photos of the exterior of this building in 2009 here. When I was a kid I thought that this was the Empire State Building. Ha!

The Smith Building viewed from the south along Swan Street.

The Smith Building was completed in 1928 in the Art Deco style of architecture. Its thirty-four floors top out at 388 feet making it the second tallest building in the city. There used to be an outdoor observation deck on the 31st floor. Well, there still is, but it's been closed since the Corning Tower observation deck opened. And that's a shame because, as I mentioned, the Corning deck doesn't offer 360º views as the Smith deck did.

A glimpse of the Smith Building between two of the Plaza's agency buildings.

One of the distinguishing features of the building, and one that I did not photograph, is the engraving of the name of each of New York State's counties on an exterior frieze that runs around the building above the first floor. I always thought that was cool; it was fun to look for particular county names. Well, it was for me.


  1. You make architectural Albany alluring.
    In my dyslexic spot read, I thought it was The Alfred E Newman building.

  2. I rather like the Corning building. Some 60 modernist not so much. Boston was full of it , particular at Boston University where I did my undergrad degree, Boston's notorious City Hall, and the Student Union at MIT -- in all cases what was called "Brutalist" architecture. They were hard, heavy buildings made up of massive concrete slabs and didn't have a lot of fenestration. Corning thrusts up and lets the light in.

  3. I always thought of the buildings Will refers to as built in the style of Soviet War Memorial Gothic. Lincoln Center has some of that aspect, as well. The Smith building is quite lovely, nice balance of the three big sections, and I'm enjoying the Tour d'Albany.

  4. stephen, somebody has to. ;)

    judy, you must be having a slow day...

    will, I'm not very familiar with those buildings in Boston, but I am familiar with the style. I went to architecture school in Berkeley's Wurster Hall, a building many students hated, but I happened to like it.

    emm, I always thought it was a nice looking building.

  5. I like my architecture to have a little more tecture.


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