A Review of the Chrysler Building
The Chrysler Building, located on the East Side of New York, Mid Manhattan, at the intersection of Lexington Avenue and Forty-Second Street, is an Art Deco – style skyscraper. Standing at 1,046 feet, that is, 318.9 meters, the structure was the universe’s tallest building for eleven months, but in 1931, the Empire State Building surpassed it. It is the highest brick building in the universe with a steel chassis. Though the building’s interior chassis is steel, the exterior is constructed using brick. As of 2018, the Chrysler and The New York Times Building are the sixth-tallest structures.
A quintessential example of Art Deco Architecture, the Chrysler Building is regarded by many modern architects as one of the finest buildings in the universe. The New York’s Skyscraper Museum in 2005 asked one-hundred builders, historians, architects, engineers, and critics to select their ten favorite New York Towers and the Chrysler Building came in first with ninety percent of the people ranking it first.
The Chrysler building boasts of 77 floors, 1,046 feet high, 319 meters, 5000 windows, 3,826,000 bricks, 29961 tons of steel, and a cost of $20,000,000. The structure is clad in white brick, and dark grey brickwork is utilized as horizontal decoration to aggrandize the window rows. The quirky crescent-shaped steps of the spire (spire scaffolding) were constructed using stainless steel (or rather, similar chrome nickel steel) as a conventionalized sunburst motif, and beneath it, steel gargoyles, portraying American eagles (image), overlooking the city.
The entrance lobby, which is three stories high, has a triangular form with entrances from Lexington Avenue, Forty second, and Forty-third streets. The lobby is richly decorated with sienna-colored floor and onyx, red Moroccan marble walls, and blue marble. Painted by Edward Trumbull, the ceiling murals praise the current-day technical progress, and of course, the structure itself and its builders’ work.
An obelisk to modernity and the vast automotive industry, the Chrysler building takes the win for the city’s most beloved and iconic skyscraper (and the universe’s tallest for forty days until the Empire State Building surpassed it and stole its honor). The structure was designed by architect William Van Alen, who integrated car details into its form: Winged urns crowning the thirty-first floor resemble a car’s radiator caps; American eagle gargoyles constructed using chromium nickel protrude from the sixty-first floor, look like hood ornaments. Most mind-boggling is the pinnacle. It has spiked windows and tiered crescents that radiate out a sight similar to a magnificent steel sunburst. Have a look at it at sunset to view the light glistening off the tip. What is even better is its view at night, when its peak brightens the sky. The signature element is the building’s beautiful crown which displays seven terraced arches radiating upwards, forming a shiny sunburst pattern.
The decorative scheme of the interior and façade is mainly geometric; at Walter P. Chrysler’s request. Walter P. Chrysler commissioned the structure stainless steel automobile icons (e.g., radiator caps made using mercury) were integrated into the architrave on the setback at the tower’s base and in decorative work on other sections of the building along with ornaments of car wheels. The building’s sleek design and peerless corners are archetypal of the modernism of the 1920s.
Visitors can view the building from outside, and for free. One can visit the lobby to examine the art deco details and an ornate ceiling mural designed by Edward Trumbull. Also in the lobby is the world’s very first digital clock. The Chrysler Structure lobby is accessible to the public from eight a.m. to six p.m. (in exception of federal holidays). Ne tickets are required to access the lobby. Apart from the lobby, the rest of the building is leased to businesses and not accessible to outside visitors. Additionally, no tours are offered through the building. There is no access whatsoever beyond the lobby for visitors or tourists. It looks like the business folks occupying the rest of the building would be somewhat irate at the sight of visitors sneaking up on their trade secrets while appreciating the art deco design.
In a horizon that has advanced New York as a destination for architects and city lovers alike; the Chrysler Structure by William Van Alen is recognizable from any distance for its distinct style and profile against its environs. With the original intention to be the universe’s tallest structure, it remained so for just eleven months until the Empire State Building surpassed it in 1931. The Chrysler Building is an exemplary example of the Art Deco style, from its base to its terraced crown. Exterior and interior alike, it is admired for its distinctive embellishment. The Chrysler building is a site to see and is impressive to automobile magnets and other architects.
“12 tallest skyscrapers in New York City”. am New York. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
“Chrysler Building.” National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on May 5, 2012. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
“CHRYSLER BUILDING, CITY’S HIGHEST, OPEN.” The New York Times. May 28, 1930. Retrieved April 16, 2018.