EVERGREEN, Colo. (AP) _ William Roper Sandifer, an architect who helped design the Empire State Building and supervised its construction, has died at the age of 85.

Sandifer, who died Tuesday following a long illness, also helped design and build the 1939 World's Fair and several U.S. embassies.

Sandifer, who earned a master's degree in architecture from Columbia University, joined the New York architectural firm of Shreve, Lamb, and Harmon in 1930 and was chosen to help design the 102-story Empire State Building.

The 1,472-foot tall building, which was opened to the public on May 1, 1931, was the world's tallest until 1972.

''When he talked about the construction of the building, he talked about walking on 12-inch beams, 50 floors up from the ground. He wanted to make sure all the plans were being followed exactly,'' said his son, Wiliam R. Sandifer. Sandifer, born in Rock Hill, S.C., also designed the U.S. embassy at Tokyo, said his wife, Hazle Sandifer.

Sandifer served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Caribbean and the Philippines during World War II, reaching the rank of colonel.

In addition of his wife and son, Sandifer is survived by four grandchildren.