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

Chrysler Building


Chrysler Building


Structure in General

existing [completed]
rigid frame
applied masonry
light gray
Art Deco
tapered roof with spire


commercial office


  • This was the tallest building in the world from 1930 to 1931, when it was surpassed by the Empire State Building. It is still the tallest brick building in the world.
  • The tower culminates in a beautiful, tapered stainless steel crown that supports the famous spire at its peak.
  • At its completion the Chrysler Building overtook the Tour Eiffel as the world's tallest man-made structure.
  • Original plans for the building project which became the Chrysler Building were unambitious, calling for a small speculative office building.
  • Groundbreaking was on September 19, 1928, and opening ceremonies were on May 28, 1930.
  • Chrysler asked the architect for a world's tallest building. To beat competitors who were trying the same feat, William van Alen designed a 56 meter (185 foot) spire which was secretly delivered to the site in sections, assembled inside the elevator shaft, and raised to the top in 90 minutes.
  • A particularly beautiful example of the Art Deco style, the lobby of the Chrysler Building is clad in different marbles, onyx and amber.
  • A private "Cloud Club" lounge and an observation area were once located at the top of the building.
  • This was one of the first large buildings with extensive metalwork on the facade.
  • The ornaments on the shaft and setbacks allude in different ways to the automobile, with metal hubcaps, gargoyles in the form of radiator caps, car fenders, and hood ornaments.
  • The interior is decorated with Egyptian motifs and an Edward Trumbull ceiling fresco titled "Transport and Human Endeavor" that depicts buildings, airplanes, and scenes from the Chrysler assembly line.
  • An extensive portion of Cremaster 3, an art film made in 2002 by the well known sculptor Matthew Barney, is set in the lobby and crown of this building.
  • The eagles which adorn the tower and brightwork above the 61st floor are made of corrosion-resistant Nirosta, an alloy of chrome-nickel steel which was developed by Krupp of Germany.
  • The Chrysler Building is considered by many tall building fans to be the world's quintessential skyscraper design.
  • At one point 3,000 construction workers were working on the tower simultaneously.
  • The building has a total of 3,862 windows.
  • 20,961 tons of structural steel, 391,881 rivets, and 3,826,000 bricks were used to assemble the building.
  • The lowest occupancy rate in the building's history was 17% during the recession in the early 1970s.
  • After an intense competition to become the world's tallest building, the Chrysler deposed The Trump Building from a brief reign as the city's and the world's tallest building when its spire was installed.
  • Mr. Chrysler accused architect Van Alen of taking bribes from subcontractors, and refused to pay his fee.
  • Even though Chrysler lost control of the building in the fifties, the landmark still maintains its original name.
  • The original lighting scheme, designed at the time of the building's construction, was discovered and installed only in the 1980s.

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More Information


405 Lexington Avenue

Technical Data

1,046.31 ft
1,046.31 ft
925.01 ft
898.29 ft
783.01 ft
204.92 ft
200.77 ft
Sep 1928
May 1930

Involved Companies


Associate Architect:

Also recorded for this building:

construction company, developer, elevator supplier, facade consultant, facade supplier, fire protection engineering, owner, plumbing contractor, property management, steel supplier, structural engineering, tenant

Features & Amenities

  • One of the city's famous buildings
  • City landmark
  • National landmark