The History of the Chrysler Building

Considered by many to be the most beautiful piece of architecture in Manhattan, the Chrysler building is an impressive landmark and at one point, the tallest building in the world.

Chrysler building 225x300 The History of the Chrysler Building

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The Chrysler building is one of the most famous Art Deco buildings in the world, and without doubt the most famous art deco skyscraper in New York. It measures 319 meters, and held the title of tallest building in the world for 11 months until the Empire State Building was completed in 1931.

Construction began on the 19th of September 1928 and was finished in 1930. While it may not be near the top tallest building of the present, the Chrysler building still hold the title of the tallest brick building in the world, even though it is built on a steel structure.

It ranks as the fourth tallest building in New York after the new One World Trade Center will be completed this year, being surpassed by the New York Times building, the Empire State building and the Bank of America building. Another positive record the Chrysler building has is that no workers died during the somewhat frantic pace of the construction.

It was designed by William Van Alen, a Brooklyn born and trained architect. The building was built for Walter Chrysler, and was made to be the headquarters of the Chrysler Corporation. It is, however, a common misconception that the Chrysler Corporation who had occupied the building for nearly two decades until the 1950’s actually paid for the building. It was paid for entirely by Walter Chrysler who wished at the time for the building to be inherited by his children.

Many architectural details show the influence Chrysler Corporation had on the building. The gargoyles for example were made to resemble the Plymouth’s hood ornaments while the decoration on the corners of the 31st floor resemble the hubcaps of the 1929 model Chrysler.

It is considered to be one of the most famous of art deco buildings, an architectural style that was very popular in the period between the two world wars. One of the most striking visual elements of the building is the stainless steel crown and decorative eagle statutes . The stories that start above the 71st floor are purely for decoration, serving no purpose other than facilitating access to the spire.

The building is built in 4 banks that are decorated with architectural lighting or striking visual elements like the four eagles on the 61st floor. It was named a historical landmark in 1976. The innovative combination between the grandeur of the skyscraper and the art deco style of the Chrysler building has inspired the design of other skyscrapers like One Liberty Place in Philadelphia.

 The History of the Chrysler Building

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The building had numerous tenants and owners over the last 8 decades. The land on which the building was raised belongs to The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. For the first two decades of its existence, it was the HQ of the Chrysler Corporation. The Chrysler family sold the building in 1953 and over the decades it belonged to a number of wealthy business men and real estate groups. As of 2011,Abu Dhabi Investment Council owns 90 percent of the building.


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