One of film’s most iconic moments is the finale of the 1933 film King Kong, when a giant gorilla named Kong, the ultimate symbol of the strength of the natural world, is seen climbing atop the Empire State Building, the ultimate symbol of industry and modernity. It was the contrast between two warring forces that packed such a punch. And there is a strange kind of sadness when Kong meets his doom, falling from the tower to his death.
But, times have changed since then.
Here’s an article about the refurbishment of the Empire State Building, soon to be the tallest green building in America. The idea is not only to refurbish the building, but also to increase its energy efficiency, reducing its energy requirements by 38% by 2013. The article talks extensively about the kinds of changes to be made to commercial and residential high-rise buildings in the city, which produce a whopping 78% of the city’s carbon emissions.
Here’s hoping that the story gets a bit of traction, and serves as an example of how to create energy-efficient modern buildings in a major urban area like New York City. Maybe when green building is the norm, and is no longer news, the metaphor of nature falling to the powers of modernity won’t be as striking as they have been in the past.