Whence the accumulation of raw matter and energy of building in New York City?
This book considers the material basis of building as a key impetus of both urbanization and the energetics of urban life. The otherwise externalized material geographies and thermodynamics of building’s material basis reveal much about the dynamics and efficacy of how we build. This book plots the material history and geography for one plot of land in Manhattan—the parcel of land under the Empire State Building—over the past two hundred years. Through rich illustrations, it tracks all the building material that have passed through this parcel or remain it in geographic and ecological dynamics: spatially (in terms of their geographic material footprints and industrial processes) and quantitatively (in terms of embodied energy, embodied carbon, and emergy flow). In successive chapters, the book articulates the empire and states that are inherent to building, but remain unconsidered—abstract and unknown—by architects.