From Monochrome to Color: Rediscovering Famous Structures

May 14, 2024

Granite Sculpture Challenges: Creating Colossal Presidential Sculptures on Mount Rushmore's Face Posed Intricate Obstacles

We've all seen the structures included here, some up close and personal and others in images that try to show the grandiosity of these marvels of human construction. But why look at black and white images of these massive structures when we can bring them to life in vivid color? Each stroke of color revives the past, offering a fresh lens into bygone eras.

So keep scrolling and get transported back in time through these expertly colorized images of some of the most imposing architectural marvels from across the world.

 

pinterest

South Dakota's Black Hills were chosen for Mount Rushmore's location because of their rugged beauty, geological stability, and historical significance. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum first studied historical documents to capture the likenesses of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. Then, he made detailed plaster models, allowing him to refine his design. Congress and the Department of Interior approved the project. The dimensions of the sculptures were scaled up to match the massive proportions of the granite cliff face.

The tallest sculpture is Thomas Jefferson, which measures 60 feet tall. Before construction began, a grid system was laid out to guide the work of the stone carvers who marked the contours and features of each president's face. They used dynamite and pneumatic drills to remove large sections of granite before using chisels to add details. Finally, they used rasps and sandpaper to smooth out the sculptures.

Speed of Construction: Completing the Empire State Building in Just Over a Year Required Efficient Coordination

Getty Images

Workers constructed the Empire State Building in New York City in 410 days, with its official opening held on May 1, 1931. Laborers built the structure during the Great Depression, giving much-needed employment to thousands. Despite its swift completion, the Empire State Building's construction was challenging. The labor force had to use innovative construction methods to complete the project quickly. In many cases, they used prefabricated components.

Different crews were employed on multiple floors simultaneously. Transporting materials and equipment to the top of the Empire State Building required using elevators and hoists. Often, workers stayed in the same position all day, while others used the elevators and hoists to pass tools and materials up to them. Tragically, the frantic construction pace also caused several accidents. For 40 years, the building was the tallest in the world.