As one of the most iconic and beloved buildings in New York, the Chrysler Building celebrates its 85th birthday on May 28th, 2015, raising proud and high in all its Art Deco glory. This magnificent skyscraper was designed by architect William Van Alen and back in 1930 it was the world’s tallest building, before being surpassed by the Empire State only 11 months after.
A National Historic Landmark since 1976, the Chrysler Building is considered as one of the finest and most recognized buildings in the Big Apple, as well as a classic example of Art Deco architecture. This famous style, which gained international popularity after World War II is a n eclectic combination of craft motifs with imagery and materials inspired by the Machine Age of the industrialization. The style combines bold colours, geometrical shapes and rich ornamentation, which have a direct reference to the embrace of technology that was rapidly changing the culture of the 30s and 40s.
The Chrysler Building was designed specially for the car manufacturer, but an interesting fact is that the corporation did not own it, as Walter Chrysler decided to pay for it on his own so it can be inherited by his children.
The original blueprint of Van Alen featured a jewel-like glass crown as a top of the building, which was followed downwards by 12 stories with glass wrapped corners. The purpose of this advanced architectural idea was to make the building appear as if floating in mid-air. The difficulty and high cost of execution of this ambition project forced Van Alen to scrape his initial plan and produce the wonderful structure with terraced crown top – what is today one of the most recognized buildings in the world. The skyscraper also features various architectural details, which were directly inspired by Chrysler’s automobile products.
Happy 85th Birthday!