The Chrysler Building, New York, USA

The Chrysler Building is one of the most famous buildings in New York City and it maintains a dominant presence in the skyline of Manhattan. It is often cited as the classic American example of Art Deco architecture and regarded by many architects as the greatest building in New York City.


William Van Alen was the architect of the Chrysler Building. He was commissioned by Walter P. Chrysler to design a building for him that could be a future investment for his family. Van Alen was an avid proponent of Art Deco building design and has been recognized around the world for his contributions to the world of architecture.

Design and Construction

The Chrysler Building is often regarded as a masterpiece of Art Deco architecture. It was created during a time when people were scrambling to make New York City the home to the tallest building in the world. The design went through quite a few different stages on its way to approval. In the end, Walter P. Chrysler and Van Alen worked together to create the classic look of the building.

The building is held together by nearly 400,000 rivets and 3,826,000 bricks. The bricks were all manually laid and only comprise the non-load bearing walls of the building. The building has over 30 elevators connecting all 77 floors. It has a floorspace of nearly 1.2 million square feet.


Construction on the Chrysler Building began in September of 1928. Walter P. Chrysler envisioned a corporate headquarters for Chrysler Motors that would be the tallest building in the world and which he could leave to his children. So, in the mid-1920s, Chrysler hired architect William Van Alen to draw up plans for his dream building.

The original plans were panned by city planners and city officials. They called for an enormous jewel-like crown on the top of the building as well as a very ambitious bottom showroom. The showroom would have had enormous windows that were topped by 12 full stories that would have been encased in a glass-wrapping. The idea was to make the building look as though it was floating on air.

Walter P. Chrysler sat down with Van Alen to help craft a building that would be more likely to pass with city officials. In the end, what they would come up with is the classic Art Deco facade that is now a world-renowned treasure of architecture. The building was completed 2 years later and was considered the tallest building in the world for a scant 11 months before being ousted by the Empire State Building.

The Chrysler Building was officially classified a "National Historic Landmark" in December of 1976. It has been recognized worldwide by a number of architectural scholars as one of the most important pieces of architecture in American history.

Current Use

Today, the Chrysler Building is owned by the Abu Dhabi Investment Council and Tishman Speyer. It is primarily an office building and contains the corporate headquarters of some large investment and property firms.