When the Empire State Building was completed on April 11, 1931, it immediately became one of the most celebrated pieces of architecture in the world. But a few years before it became one of the most iconic edifices in history, the Reynolds Building was wowing visitors to Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
The 22-story building, designed by the Shreve & Lamb architectural firm, opened in 1929 to serve as the headquarters of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. The unique design, including the use of setbacks, led the National Association of Architects to deem it “Building of the Year.” Whether it was the result of the accolades or simply a matter of refining an already great blueprint, Shreve & Lamb were inspired to submit a similar design on a much larger scale when they were asked to draw up plans for a new skyscraper in New York City.
The staff at the Empire State Building knows all about their skyscraper’s southern origins. And, as any good offspring does, they make sure the Reynolds Building receives a lovely Father’s Day card from the Empire State Building every June. (But would it kill them to call once in a while?)