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What Is the Chrysler Building?

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  • Written By: Jessica Reed
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 18 April 2014
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The Chrysler Building is a large skyscraper in the Manhattan area of New York at Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street. It is made up of office spaces and is known for its intense art deco style. For 11 months it was considered the tallest skyscraper in the world, but the Empire State Building soon took the record. The Chrysler Building was created by architect William Van Allen for Walter P. Chrysler.

Much of the Chrysler Building's design, especially the crown at the top, takes its inspiration not only from the Art Deco movement, but also from the Chrysler line of cars. When construction first began, it was a race to see who could create the tallest building in the world. As skyscrapers competed to be the tallest, Walter P. Chrysler took on William Van Allen, whose previous contractor disapproved of the plans and the height. Soon the plans were changed to make the skyscraper even larger, and construction began 19 September 1928.

Workers were pushed for fast-paced construction to get the building up as soon as possible. Building finished in less than two years on 28 May 1930. It became the tallest building in the world in November 1929 when the elaborate crown top and spire were added. Construction was not complete when this occurred, but the giant spire pushed the building to stand taller than any other.

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One of the most famous characteristics of the Chrysler Building is its reflection of the Art Deco movement famous at that time in America. It was a less expensive version of the previous French Art Deco movement and involved clean surfaces and a focus on lines as a defining decorative element. It often used metals and glass as design elements, and the Chrystal Building became one of the defining skyscrapers to reflect the style.

The building used clean lines and elements of glass and steel to create movement. The most prominent decorative feature is the crown and spire on top. It uses upside-down triangular shapes to form curves that shrink in size until they reach the top where the spire protrudes into the sky. It focuses heavily on lines to create triangles and curves, and to keep the eye moving upward. The crown also lights up at night so the curving arches are visible even in the dark.

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GrumpyGuppy
Post 4

@chrisinbama: The Chrysler Building, being one of the most well-buildings in the world stands at an amazing 1,047 feet (319 meters). The original design was for it to stand 807 feet. At the time, that design was too advanced and too costly for the contractor, William Reynolds.

Reynolds did not agree with Van Alen’s original plan. The design was sold to Walter Chrysler who, working with Van Alen, redesigned the building to add additional stories. It was revised to be 925 feet tall. They were in somewhat of a race for the tallest building with the Bank of Manhattan with an expected height of 927 feet.

The Chrysler Building ended up on top. After the spire of the Chrysler Building was added, the building reached an amazing height of 1,047 feet.

OceanSwimmer
Post 3

Does anyone know exactly how tall this beautiful highrise building is?

wesley91
Post 2

@chrisinbama: I haven’t personally been there but my sister went with her church group. They had a tour guide to show them around. The tour guide told them that the best place to view the Chrysler Building was from one of the visitor areas in the Empire State Building.

The Chrysler Corporation used to have an office there. My sister said that it is breathtaking. When she went, it was cloudy and she said that the chrome steel absolutely glimmered, even through the clouds.

chrisinbama
Post 1

Where is the best place to view the Chrysler Building?

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