Chrysler Building. Skyscraper in New York City, New York

Chrysler Building

Skyscraper in New York City, New York

Chrysler Building Photo © Stefan Klaas

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Chrysler Building

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Chrysler Building on Blue Day - Chrysler Building
Chrysler Building on Blue Day - Chrysler Building. Photo by Mike Gifford
The Chrysler Building is one of New York City’s most iconic skyscrapers. This Art Deco building is located on the east side of Midtown Manhattan. The Chrysler Building is part of the two-building Chrysler Center, which also contains Chrysler East. It lies on 42nd Street between 3rd Avenue and Lexington Avenue. Also located on 42nd Street is the Chrysler Trylons, a retail pavilion that connects the two Chrysler Center buildings.

The structure is 77 stories high and stands out in New York City’s skyline because of its shiny, stainless steel, and easily recognizable peak. With a height of 319 meter, the Chrysler Building was the world’s tallest building for a year, from 1930 until 1931, when it was surpassed by the Empire State Building. After the 9/11 attacks, it became the second-tallest building in the city again. It stayed that way until 2007, when a spire was added to the Bank of America Tower (Wikipedia Article). However, it still is the tallest brick building on the planet. Now, the Chrysler Building is the fourth-tallest skyscraper in New York City, after One World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, and the Bank of America Tower.

Many architects consider it to be one of the greatest buildings in the city. The building has more than two million square feet of rentable area and is leased by tenants of various industries. The 360° views from the inside are unparalleled and include Central Park, Times Square, Grand Central Terminal, and the East River (Wikipedia Article).

Chrysler Building at
	Sunset, NYC - Chrysler Building
Chrysler Building at Sunset, NYC. Photo by Diana Robinson

History

The Chrysler
	Building - Chrysler Building
The Chrysler Building - Chrysler Building. Photo by Mal Booth
When Walter P. Chrysler (Wikipedia Article) hired the architect, William Van Alen, to design a new skyscraper in Manhattan in the 1920s, there was a building frenzy going on in the city. Competition to build the world’s tallest building was intense. Van Alen’s design included a jewel-like glass spire. Glass was a major theme in his design, with big glass windows in the lower showrooms and a dozen stories with glass-wrapped corners. His idea was to make the building appear like it was floating in the air. The original contractor, William Reynold, disapproved of this futuristic plan and he left. The plan was then bought by Walter P. Chrysler himself, who, together with Van Alen, reworked the plans and added several stories. Walter Chrysler was the chairman of Chrysler Corporation and wanted to make the building his company’s headquarters. Although the famous car manufacturer did use the building as its HQ for more than two decades, the corporation didn't pay for it. It was Walter Chrysler who financed all of it.

Construction started in 1928 and – two years, 20,961 tons of steel, 391,881 rivets, and almost four million bricks later – the building was finished in 1930. Competition was fierce at the time and required Van Alen to design the building’s spire in secret. The spire was even secretly constructed inside the building. Four separate sections were built and raised to the top in only 90 minutes.

After the completion of the secret spire, the Chrysler Building surpassed its biggest rival, 40 Wall Street, as the tallest building in the world, and the Eiffel Tower as the tallest structure in the world. It became the first man-made structure to rise higher than 305 meter.

Despite the pace of four new floors per week, none of the workers died during the construction.

Gargoyles guarding the Chrysler Building -
	Chrysler Building
Gargoyles guarding the Chrysler Building. Photo by Chris Parker

Architecture

A fine example of Art Deco architecture, the Chrysler Building is covered with impressive details. Many features of the building are aimed to remind people of the automobile industry. Particularly the gargoyles which were modeled after Chrysler’s automobile products, such as the hood ornaments of the Plymouth model. Eagles grace the corners of the 61st Floor, while the ornaments on the 31st Floor resemble 1929 Chrysler radiator caps.

The building’s most striking feature, however, is its spire or crown. The impressive terraced crown consists of seven radiating arches mounted on top of one another. It is clad in stainless steel.

Built with bricks around a steel frame, the Chrysler Building is the tallest building of its kind in the world. It became a National Historic Landmark of the United States in 1976.

Visiting the Chrysler Building

chrysler building from across the street -
	Chrysler Building
chrysler building from across the street - Chrysler Building. Photo by Jeff C
The Chrysler Building can be admired from the outside. Visitors can go into the lobby to see the Art Deco details and the ceiling mural that was done by Edward Trumbull. Only the lobby is open to the public; the rest of the building is office space. The lobby is free to visit and open to visitors from Monday through Friday, from 8.00 AM to 6.00 PM.

Similar Landmarks

New York City is famous for its magnificent skyline, made up of dozens of skyscrapers. The most famous and iconic skyscrapers are the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, and One World Trade Center.

Other major skyscrapers in the world are the Shanghai Tower, Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Taipei 101, and the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.

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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Dec 12, 2014

Pictures of Chrysler Building

Chrysler building from Empire State - Chrysler Building
Chrysler building from Empire State - Photo by Chris Parker

Chrysler building, NYC - Chrysler Building
Chrysler building, NYC - Photo by Objectif Nantes

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