The Flatiron building in New York City was built in 1902 and stood among the tallest buildings at that time. The building was made out of steel. The name of the building however is derived from the shape of a flat iron. It is an iconic building in New York City to date. The building has been featured in many Hollywood movies making it a statement piece. Initially, the building was named Fuller building named after George. A.Fuller and had served the purpose of handling offices of the Fuller company back then. Daniel Burnham was the architect of the Flatiron building.

Due to the triangular shape of the building, it was not well received by other architects and people from the media sector. The three sides of the triangular shape are curved. Many stressed about the building collapsing due to the force of the wind. The strong skeletal steel structure has held up the famous building for years. The Flatiron building was built for commercial purposes and is a 22-story high skyscraper and is a landmark in New York City. They had tenants using all of their spaces for a long time period.

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The Flatiron building_©

About the architect | Flatiron Building In New York City

Daniel Hudson Burnham was an American architect and urban designer. Burnham’s style of architecture was mainly beaux-arts architecture. He was a successful architect from Chicago and has designed several famous buildings notably the Flatiron building in New York City, Union Station in Washington DC, etc.

Architectural Style and materials

The layout of the Flatiron building forms a triangular prism around an almost perfect right angle triangle so that the building is only six feet wide where the two longest sides of the building meet. The architectural styles used in the Flatiron building are a combination of beaux arts architecture and renaissance revival architecture. The Flatiron building is fronted with limestone and terracotta and designed in a Beaux-arts style with a twist of renaissance revival style in the building. 

The use of symmetry, harmony, and proportion can be seen in elements such as columns and arches in the Flatiron building. These are a few elements of the renaissance style used in the building. It features Italian and French renaissance architectural styles as well. The building has a view of the cityscape. It had the intention to beautify the city of New York. The Flatiron building had an ornate façade composed of a combination of stone and tiles panels cladding onto the façade.

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Flatiron building under construction_©

The building consists of 22 floors. The building is 285 feet tall and enjoys its slenderness and has no part of it unornamented. The Flatiron building is an example of the early steel-framed skyscraper built on an unusual triangular site. It creates a unique sense of height and has detailed ornamentation on the façade. The building was designated as a landmark in New York City in 1979 and later became a national historic landmark. The Flatiron building continues to function as a popular retail and office space. The Flatiron building is one of the oldest surviving skyscrapers in New York City. The Flatiron building’s ownership was divided among several companies and was renovated multiple times.

closeup of arches ©

At ground level, the entrances have storefront windows to the north and south. The storefront windows are separated using vertical piers with horizontal bands of limestone. There are revolving doors when entering the building. Columns constructed of limestone can be seen on the second story. On the second and third stories, each having two long striped windows. 

The building includes a pair of two-story-high Classical columns. The 4th story has 26 long striped windows. The 5th to 18th stories also have long windows similar to those on the 4th story, but the terracotta piers between each bay are decorated in a simpler design. The 18th and 19th stories contain an arcade of double-height arches. Each archway has a metal frame with multiple glass panes. There are metal panels between the windows on the 18th and 19th stories. The arches themselves are separated vertically by ornate terracotta piers. The 20th story contains small square windows above which is a deep cornice.  The 21st-story penthouse was added later on. The attic still exists and is placed between the 20th and 21st stories

The interior of the Flatiron building had office cubicles connected by a central pathway. Each floor consisted of around 20 office cubicles. There was a staircase and a hydraulic elevator powered by water.


The Flatiron building in New York City heard many critical views during the beginning of its creation in front of the public who thought that the structure would collapse. The structural system of the Flatiron building proved them wrong. The building stands as an iconic landmark amongst all the other skyscrapers constructed later on. The building is a visionary for the crowds passing by and grasps the eyes of tourists gazing at it in multiple views and clicking pictures from various angles. The intricate architectural styles incorporated on the exterior of the building makes it stand out to the people.


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  • Cooper, P. (2016) Old photos of New York City’s Flatiron Building under construction, 1902, History Daily. Available at: (Accessed: October 31, 2022). 
  • Flatiron Building (no date) Architectuul. Creative commons community. Available at: (Accessed: October 31, 2022). 
  • ValldeRuten, H. (2022) Flatiron Building, History of New York City. Available at: (Accessed: October 31, 2022). 

Hello, this is Shazia Haris an aspiring architectural writer. Her passion for writing has led her to RTF. She is grateful to have made it here and is eager to kick-start a new path in writing. She looks forward to being a trailblazer.