9 secret things you may not know about the Chrysler Building

The famous and also well known Skyscraper with the name Chrysler Building is an really nice looking Building in the Art Deco Style. It is located on the East Side of Midtown Manhattan in the City of New York. Precisely it is at the corner of Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street. The Area is called “Turtle Bay Area”. The Building was the highest building in the world with 318,9 meter (that is 1,046 feet) for “just” 11 month. After that the also iconic Empire State Building surpassed the Chrysler Building in 1931.

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The building structure combines brick and steel. With this it is the tallest brick building in the world. After the horrible destruction of the World trade center and before the new One World Trade Center was build, the Chrysler Building was the 2nd tallest building in New York.

As we said earlier the Chrysler Building is a classic example of the Art Deco architecture and it is also considered by a lot of contemporary designer and architects to be the most finest building in the City of New York. From 1930 until the mid 1950s the tall skyscraper was the headquarter of the Chrysler Cooperation. In the year 2007 the Chrysler Building ranked at rank nine on the List of America’s Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects. The Building was specifically build and designed for the big car manufacturer but the big cooperation did never pay for the construction and never owned it. The Head of Chrysler at that time decided to pay for it by himself with the plan that his children could inherit the tall structure.

Design of the Chrysler Building


The original design of the architect Van Alen had a few distinctive features which never made it to the finished building. For example it was planned that the building would have a decorative jewel-like glass crown. Also the base and ground floor was planned triple high and should be topped by 12 stories with glass wrapped corners. It was planned to create the illusion that the tower was floating in mid air. Originally it was planned to set the total height at 246 meters (807 feet). The building contractor William H. Reynolds however disapproved the original plans of Van Alen as too advanced and also to costly. The lease and design was sold to Walter P. Chrysler. He worked then with the architect Van Alen and they redesigned the tall skyscraper and added more stories. The total height was now 282 meter (or 925 feet). As the Chairman if the huge Chrysler Corporation, Walter Chrysler intended to make the whole building into the new Chrysler headquarters so various design features were modeled and designed after the the Chrysler automobile products. For Example the huge gargoyles of the building and other details.

The Construction of the Chrysler Building


The Construction started on September in the year 1928. The statics say that in total 391,881 rivets were used and also approximately 3,826,000 bricks were manually laid. The bricks were used to create the non load baering walls of the huge skyscraper. Prior to its completion the large building was about evenly tall with a rival project at the 40 Wall Street which was designed by H. Craig Severance. The architect Severance increased the height of the 40 Wall Street and claimed his project to be the world’s tallest building. As an answer and also response the Chrysler Buildings architect Van Alen obtained the permission for a 38 meter long spire and had if after permission secretly constructed inside the frame of the building. This spire was delivered to the building site in four different sections.

Finally: Completion of the Chrysler Building


In May 1930 the added 38 meter spire allowed the skyscraper Chrysler Building to surpass the 40 Wall Street and get the title of being the tallest building in the world.  It was the first man-made structure to stand taller than 1,000 feet (305 m). The Architect satisfaction was unfortunately was likely muted by the chairman Walter Chrysler because he refused to pay the balance of his architectural fee. Less than one year after opening the Building in May 1930 the Skyscraper was surpassed in height by the mentioned Empire State Building. Fortunately the Chrysler Building is still the world’s tallest steel-supported brick building.

Property


The Building stands on the land is property of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. Originally it was leased to William H. Reynolds, but he couldn’t effort the money for the project. So the complete project was acquired by Walter P. Chrysler in 1928. As mentioned earlier the Chrysler Corporation was never involved in the project – not in the development or construction or in running the project. It was although indeed built and designed for the Chrysler Building but it was a project of Walter P. Chrysler for his children. But the ownership of the Chrysler Building changed several times in history. The Family of Mr Chrysler sold the Skyscraper in the year 1953 to Mr Zeckendorf. In 1957 it was sold to Sol Goldman and Alex Di Lorenzo. It was also by the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. The chain of ownership is not stopping there: The building was bought by Jack Kent Cooke in the year 1979. After a restoration of the spire in 1995 the building was sold again in 1998 to Tishman Speyer Properties and the Travel Insurances Group and the building next to it: The Kent Building for about 220 million dollar. In the Year 2001 a stake of 75 % of the Chrysler Building was sold for a incredible sum of 300 million US Dollar to TMW. In 2008 the Abu Dhabi Investment Council negotiated for a sum of 800 million Dollar a 90 % ownership of the building with Tishman Speyer retaining 10 % share.

Architecture of the Chrysler Building


The Chrysler Building is considered as one of the a leading example of Art Deco architecture. At the 4 corners of the 61st floor are graced with eagles and on the 31 st floor the corner ornamentation are replicas of the 1929 Chrysler radiator caps. The building is unique in case of the stonework combined with a steel frame and a metal cladding. The building is having a total of 3862 windows on it’s facades. The tall skyscraper was declared as a National Historic Landmark in the year 1976 and also as a New York City Landmark 1978.

 

Top 9 secret short facts of the Chrysler Building you may not know

  • There is not much in the spire. Just Metal and reinforced concrete.
  • The secret members club called “The Cloud Club” was part of a group of a mile high power lunch spots in the city of New York. 300 of the New York City’s business elite were member in this elite club.
  • The metal used to clad the Chrysler Building was built and customized in sheet metal shops which also created the spire.
  • Walter P Chrysler had a apartment and his private office in this building. But was not the only apartment in the building: on the level 61 the Life photographer Margret Bourke-White lived in the building. The Contract was co signed by the Time Inc. Company because the building was not going to rent the apartment direct to the female photographer.
  • In the basement of the building was a water bottling unit. The unit was installed for the tenants of the building to supply them with fresh and also filtered water.
  • In the level 71 there was a public observation deck. For just 0.50 Dollar the public can go up into the spire and enjoy the views of the city. The Observation Deck was closed in 1945.
  • As written earlier the Cooper Union owns the Land where the Chrysler Building stands
  • the complete spire was completed in just 90 minutes. The Skyscraper had to compete against the 40 Wall Street and the spire was secretly constructed inside the building.
  • In the Ground floor (the Lobby) and the following second floor the company used the space as a car show room

Photos and images property of Jim Bowen, joiseyshowaa, Tony Hisgett

 

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9 secret things you may not know about the Chrysler Building
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9 secret things you may not know about the Chrysler Building
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The famous and also well known Skyscraper with the name Chrysler Building is an really nice looking Building in the Art Deco Style
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