Another view of the ESP that didn't quite happen

ESP 1962 rendering

We were picking through the Albany Institute's online collection the other day and came across a handful of Empire State Plaza design renderings that we don't think we had seen before. And maybe you haven't, either.

So, because it's interesting to wonder what if, let's have a look.

Renderings

These tempera renderings are from around 1962, and the artist was Marcel Mutin. Over at the Albany Institute online collection the page for each rendering includes a zoomable version of each picture if you'd like to see some of the details up close.

ESP_renderings_1962_from_State_Street.jpg
The renderings appear to show (at least) two different versions of some of the planned buildings. Both this rendering and the next show version of buildings that sit in roughly the same place as the Legislative Office Building and the Abrams Building on State Street.

ESP_renderings_1962_across_State_Street.jpg

ESP_renderings_1962_toward_capitol.jpg
Again, somewhat different version of the about the same view.

ESP_renderings_1962_plaza_wide.jpg

ESP_renderings_1962_arch.jpg
These next two appears to show what's roughly the same version, but different angles.

ESP_renderings_1962_from_above.jpg
That arch where the State Museum is today was apparently scrapped in part because of cost.

A few quick things

+ Obviously that walkway over State Museum didn't end up in the final design -- and probably for the better.

+ We like how much glass is used in that first version of the buildings along State Street. The buildings that ended up there have that sort of fortress feel about them that can make the ESP feel cold and imposing.

+ Look at the renderings that show the Capitol -- see those large ramps that go below the plaza, presumably into the concourse? That's a much different take than the narrow staircases the made into the plaza.

+ We still think that arch is weird. But the way that pool behind helps connect to the plaza to Lincoln Park is nice.

Earlier

+ Maybe there wasn't enough money for a spaceship

+ Albany, in an alternate future

+ Albany's reflection of Brazil

+ The highway that was almost buried under Washington Park

+ 98 Acres in Albany

Comments

These are so flippin' cool! The first renderings of the Museum, once it replaced the Arch, was supposed to be mostly glass as well, though you couldn't really tell from the artwork.

Oh man, these are amazing. So much to ogle - the strange swoopy stick figures, the awesomely stylized sixties cars...

But the thing that really gets me is this: WHAT IS GOING ON in that rendering of the state capitol, with the flags and the big red carpet laid out over the steps? Is Albany getting a visit from Queen Elizabeth? In the foreground you have flags of New York State, the UK, some flag I can't begin to identify, Australia(?), and the US, and on the far side of the plaza I also see what I think is the White Ensign which Wikipedia says is a naval flag? There's clearly some kind of honor guard lining the steps, and I'm pretty sure I see two Queen's Guards in front of a man in black and a woman in a white dress.

Scenes from an alternate Albany that never was...

Needs more monorail.

@Patrick,

While I'm not sure what's up with the flags, maybe they're all the flags that have ever been flown over NYS going back to the early 17th Century (Dutch (or maybe just Dutch East India Co), union jack, Albany Plan of Union, etc.). Similar to how the origin of the Six Flags theme parks was the six flags that had ever flown over Texas (Spain, Ancient Regime France, Mexico, Independent Texas, US, Confederate).

Not sure who/what Albany's version of Mr. Six would be though.

Some of these renderings are now on display as part of the Albany Institute's exhibit, "The Capital Region in 50 Objects."

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