Art Deco Exuberance: Chrysler Building
Art Deco was born in Paris and was most exuberant in the United States. What defined Art Deco as a style was its ornamental quality. Its rise coincided with two genuine movements: the neo-Classicism that gave birth to Fascist architecture in Germany and Italy, and the Modernism born of the Bauhaus that focused on democratic functionalism. Art Deco had no such weighty aspirations. It aimed to be glamorous, entertaining, sexy, exotic and outrageous. As Europe slid toward disaster, it offered escapism.
Source: Alan Riding, New York Times
In the years between the world wars, everything from furniture and fashion to architecture and industrial design came under the sway of a flashy art style variously known as Industrial Moderne, Jazz Moderne and Streamline Moderne. Flourishing nearly everywhere, it represented the first global design fad. Yet by the time it ran out of steam, it still had no agreed name. Only in the mid-1960's was it tagged Art Deco.
Condemned by Modernists as decadent, Art Deco's interiors were soon being replaced by ''cleaner'' looks, but in the 1970's a certain nostalgia for Art Deco set in. Postmodernist architecture paid it homage, and Art Deco houses in, say, Miami were restored and admired. Its place in shaping modern taste was recognized. How else to embrace ornate jewelry, lacquered furniture, flapper dresses, speedy sports cars, jazz, Josephine Baker, Hollywood, cheap consumer goods and the Chrysler building?
Chrysler Building was the first man-made structure to stand taller than 1,000 feet (305 meters). At 1,046 feet (318.9 m), the structure was the world's tallest building for 11 months before it was surpassed by the Empire State Building in 1931.
Today, it is the tallest brick building in the world, with a steel structure.
It was headquarters of the Chrysler Corporation from 1930 until mid-1950s. Although the building was built and designed specifically for the car manufacturer, the corporation did not pay for the construction and never owned it, as Walter P. Chrysler decided to pay for it himself, so that his children could inherit it.
The Chrysler Building is a classic example of Art Deco architecture and considered by many contemporary architects to be one of the finest buildings in New York City. In 2007, it was ranked ninth on the List of America's Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects
CHRYSLER BUILDING AT DAWN
Considered by many to be the most beautiful piece of architecture in Manhattan, the Chrysler building is an impressive landmark and at one point, was the tallest building in the world.
The Chrysler building is one of the most famous Art Deco buildings in the world, and without doubt the most famous art deco skyscraper in New York. It measures 319 meters (1,046 ft), and held the title of tallest building in the world for 11 months until the Empire State Building was completed in 1931.
Construction began on the 19th of September 1928 and was finished in 1930. While it may not be near the top tallest building of the present, the Chrysler building still hold the title of the tallest brick building in the world, even though it is built on a steel structure.
The skyscraper was designed by William Van Alen, a Brooklyn born and trained architect. The building was built for Walter Chrysler, and was made to be the headquarters of the Chrysler Corporation. It is, however, a common misconception that the Chrysler Corporation who had occupied the building for nearly two decades until the 1950’s actually paid for the building. It was in fact paid for entirely by Walter Chrysler who wished at the time for the building to be inherited by his children.
Many architectural details show the influence Chrysler Corporation had on the building. The gargoyles for example were made to resemble the Plymouth’s hood ornaments while the decoration on the corners of the 31st floor resemble the hubcaps of the 1929 model Chrysler.
It is considered to be one of the most famous of art deco buildings, an architectural style that was very popular in the period between the two world wars. One of the most striking visual elements of the building is the stainless steel crown and decorative eagle statutes . The stories that start above the 71st floor are purely for decoration, serving no purpose other than facilitating access to the spire.
The building is built in 4 banks that are decorated with architectural lighting or striking visual elements like the four eagles on the 61st floor. It was named a historical landmark in 1976.