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Chrysler Building

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Chrysler Building


Structure in General

existing [completed]
rigid frame
applied masonry
white light gray silver
art deco
tapered roof with spire


commercial office
conferencing space observation


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A particularly beautiful example of the Art Deco style, the lobby of the Chrysler Building is clad in different marbles, onyx and amber.
  • This was one of the first large buildings with extensive metalwork on the facade.
  • At one point 3,000 construction workers were working on the tower simultaneously.
  • Even though Chrysler lost control of the building in the fifties, the landmark still maintains its original name.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The tower culminates in a beautiful, tapered stainless steel crown that supports the famous spire at its peak.
  • A private "Cloud Club" lounge and an observation area were once located at the top of the building.
  • The Chrysler Building is considered by many tall building fans to be the world's quintessential skyscraper design.
  • Mr. Chrysler accused architect Van Alen of taking bribes from subcontractors, and refused to pay his fee.
  • 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 building has a total of 3,862 windows.
  • The original lighting scheme, designed at the time of the building's construction, was discovered and installed only in the 1980s.
  • 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 lowest occupancy rate in the building's history was 17% during the recession in the early 1970s.
  • 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.
  • After an intense competition to become the world's tallest building, the Chrysler deposed 40 Wall Street from a brief reign as the city's and the world's tallest building when its spire was installed.
  • 20,961 tons of structural steel, 391,881 rivets, and 3,826,000 bricks were used to assemble the building.
  • As part of the commemoration of the American Institute of Architects' 150th anniversary in 2007, the organization announced the list of the 150 highest-ranked structures as "America's Favorite Architecture". The Chrysler Building was ranked ninth on this list. Start with the Empire State Building to make a tour of "America's Favorite Architecture" in order. The next building on the list is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

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More Information


393-413 Lexington Avenue
130-140 East 43rd Street, 137-143 East 42nd Street
405 Lexington Avenue
Chrysler Center
New York City
New York

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

William van Alen
Reinhard, Hofmeister & Walquist

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Features & Amenities

  • One of the city's famous buildings
  • City landmark
  • National landmark
  • Conference center is available
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