Chrysler Building, a stark part of the New York skyline, titled the world’s tallest skyscraper once and still being the world’s tallest brick building is considered to be the paragon of the art deco style of architecture. This building was originally a project of William H Reynolds, a well-known realtor and former new york state senator who commissioned William van Alen to design the building. Van Alen’s ambitious design of placing ‘diamond’ crown atop the structure and having showroom Windows made it out of Reynolds’s pockets reach and hence the lease was sold to Walter Chrysler for $2 million, who wanted to make it a private investment for his kids. After the project handover, Chrysler wished to make a few changes to the already existing plan, resulting in the skyscraper’s looks today. Walter Chrysler’s progressive planning later became into a race with the bank of Manhattan on 40 wall street whose construction was happening simultaneously, to build the world’s tallest skyscraper.
This 1046 ft [ 318.9 m] skyscraper is a 77-floor brick structure supported by an interior steel framework and stainless steel cladding. What makes the building stand out in this skyline is its eclectic terraced crown and the other ornamentations such as the gargoyles on the 31st floor and hood ornaments that represent American eagles on the hood ornaments of the Plymouth automobile on the 61st-floor corners or the crown parts that resemble parts of the Chrysler cars. The corners on the 31st-floor setbacks feature replicas the 1929 Chrysler radiator caps.
The crown on top is cladded with silver austenitic stainless steel plates ribbed and riveted motif resembling sun rays with triangular vaulted glass windows in them. In a race to beat the bank building in clinching the title, minutes after its completion [ Manhattan bank ] the spire was hoisted on top of the Chrysler building making it taller than the former. It is said that the spire was assembled in 90 minutes. It was bought in four sections to the site, after the first section was raised to the 66th floor it took them only a few minutes to finish the setup. Although the happiness was short-lived as in 11 months the empire state building would beat it by almost a 180 ft.
Each of the setbacks on 16, 18, 23, 28, and 31 have ornamentation following the tenets of art deco and representing the Chrysler legacy. After the 31st floor, there are no setbacks until the 60th floor after which the building plan becomes a Maltese cross that aids in the seamless blending of the square shaft to the final according to the author and photographer Cervin Robinson.
The building is not only art deco on the outside but also the inside, with lavish stone decorated interiors with at deco patterns. The building is said to house the cloud club meant exclusive for the mover and shakers of the city. It encompasses three floors from the 66th to 68th and was the hub for these white collars where they can drink, chill or talk business deals. These three floors are the most lavish ones in the building. The top floors out restricted for public view but the lobby of the building gives a fair idea of its class, with onyx, red Moroccan marble walls, and a burnt Sienna colored flooring. As of today the building forms a significant part of the iconic skyline and is the seventh tallest skyscraper in NYC, but its art deco influence makes it stand out amongst the others.