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Your Location: World North America U.S.A. New York New York City Chanin Building

Chanin Building


Chanin Building


Structure in General

existing [completed]
applied masonry
light brown
Art Deco


commercial office


  • Built as a monument to Irwin S. Chanin (see Irwin S. Chanin), a graduate of Cooper Union who became a major New York developer of the 1920s.
  • Chanin himself had his own offices on the 50th and 51st floors of the tower that were famous for a theater and an award-winning bathroom.
  • To attract tenants, the owner provided centralized services at the base of the building including an underground connection to Grand Central Terminal and ground-floor commercial spaces.
  • A movie theater and a subterranean bus terminal were included in the original project but no longer remain.
  • Above the base, the tower's steel frame is clad in buff brick and terra cotta and it is set back in conformance with the 1916 Zoning Law.
  • At the top, the skyscraper is capped by a dramatic crown that was once illuminated at night.
  • Inside the lobby, the walls are decorated with reliefs by set-designer Jacques Delamarre and Renee Chambellan that represent "The City of Opportunity" and "The Active Life of the Individual," the latter perhaps a reference to Chanin's own rise to power and wealth.
  • The facade illustrates the introduction of colored glass, stone and metal on the exterior of tall buildings.
  • In contrast to its neighbor, Grand Central Terminal, the Chanin Building's Art Deco facade represents a turn away from the Beaux Arts style towards a more humanistic and modern imagery appropriate to the industrial age.
  • 3rd tallest building in the world, when it was completed.

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More Information


122 East 42nd Street

Technical Data

680.12 ft
648.95 ft
648.95 ft

Involved Companies


Also recorded for this building:

developer, general contractor, steel supplier

Features & Amenities

  • City landmark