A building that requires no introduction and is probably the most beautiful Art Deco skyscraper in the world. At almost 319 meters, the Chrysler building was the tallest building in the world until the construction of the Empire State Building was completed eleven months later. These days it’s only the eleventh tallest building in New York and the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia will be well over three times its height when it’s completed – that’s progress for you! Having said that, it remains the tallest brick and steel frame building in the world.
Constructed by Walter Chrysler using his own money, the building was completed in 1930. It took two years to build. He worked with architect Van Alen to come up with a progressive design for the building’s dome. The arches and triangular windows create an Art Deco look that reflects the innovation and modernity of the time. Actually, quite a few Art Deco skyscrapers were built during this time thanks to a late 1920’s property boom and that’s what gives the Manhattan’s skyline such a romantic look in films.
Lower decorations on the exterior of the building are influenced by the bonnet ornaments found on Chrysler cars, while the gargoyles and eagles higher up represent flight and the machine age of the 1920s.
The interior of the building, especially the lobby, is also an Art Deco delight with the walls covered in beautiful African red granite, parquet flooring and wonderful marquetry detail on the elevator doors. The huge mural on the ceiling called ‘Transport and Human Endeavour’ reflects the golden age of aviation and the machine age. The triangles, sharp angles, slightly curved lines, and chrome ornaments give the mural a distinctly Art Deco style.
Our first view of the Chrysler building was from the top of another Art Deco classic, the Empire State Building, it’s iconic dome really stands out from the neighbouring buildings – an absolutely fantastic site. We also visited it at street level where you can really appreciate the stepped design. Incidentally, the stepped design was a legal requirement at the time of design and construction.