Art History Lab

The Enduring Allure of the Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building is one of New York’s most famous landmarks, located on the East Side of Manhattan. This iconic skyscraper stands tall at 319m (1,046ft), built during the years of 1928-1930.

It is renowned for its Art Deco style, which combines beauty and functionality to create a unique design that remains unparalleled after more than nine decades. The Chrysler Building is a masterpiece that has fascinated people for generations.

Location of the Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building is found in New York City’s cityscape, specifically on the East Side of Manhattan. It is located on the corner of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue and is adjacent to the Grand Central Terminal.

This location makes it very accessible to many of the city’s popular tourist attractions and shopping destinations.

Construction of the Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building was constructed between 1928 and 1930 on a plot of land bought by the Chrysler Corporation. The building was designed by William Van Alen, a renowned architect who entered into a rivalry with other architects of the time, including the architect behind the Empire State Building.

The construction of the Chrysler Building was completed in record time, taking only 18 months.

Height of the Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building is known for being one of the tallest buildings in the world, standing at 319m or 1,046ft tall. It held this position until the Empire State Building was completed in 1931, surpassing its height by a mere 3 meters.

The Chrysler Building’s tapered spire is an unforgettable sight that is illuminated at night, and it remains an important fixture of New York City’s iconic skyline.

Art Deco style in the Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building’s Art Deco style has distinguished it as one of America’s most unique and renowned buildings. It embodies a distinctive style that emphasizes ornamental detailing, sharp geometric forms, and modern technology.

The building is characterized by the use of quality materials such as glass, chrome, and marble. The lobby of the building is unique, with a series of murals that depict scenes from the automotive and aviation industries.

They were designed by Edward Trumbull and are a perfect representation of the building’s Art Deco style.

Exterior design of the Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building’s exterior design is a testament to its Art-Deco style. It is made of a steel frame with intricate designs that give it a sense of motion and height.

The corners of the building are accentuated with triangular windows, while the facade is adorned by an intricate pattern of setbacks. It is topped with a remarkable crown adorned with a large eagle head that serves as a lightning rod.

The crown and spire are illuminated at night, making the building, even more, awe-inspiring.

Interior design of the Chrysler Building

The interior of the Chrysler Building is just as remarkable as its exterior. It features soundproof partitions and interchangeable sections to ensure that all employees of the building can work effectively without disturbing one another.

The elevators are also unique, as they were created by the Otis Elevator Company and feature intricate designs that match the building’s Art Deco style. The interior also features marble and other quality finishes, giving the building an overall air of grandeur.


The Chrysler Building is a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of architects and engineers during this period. It remains one of America’s most beloved architectural marvels, and its impact on the New York City skyline will forever be celebrated.

It is one of the world’s most critically acclaimed skyscrapers, and its Art Deco style has been an inspiration for countless buildings to follow. It will always remain a beloved icon of the city and an unforgettable part of its heritage.The Chrysler Building is one of the most iconic architectural structures in the world and a significant landmark of New York City.

It features both ornamentation and an observation deck, which stands out from other buildings in the city. The ornamentation, interior design, height and location of the building make it a major tourist attraction as well as a prestigious business address.

Exterior Ornamentation of the Chrysler Building

The ornamentation of the Chrysler Building is one of its most distinguishing features. The building’s design reflects the automobile industry’s influence on American culture during the 1920s.

The motifs include radiator caps, hubcaps, and fenders incorporated into the building’s exterior. The gargoyles are modeled after Chryslers design, and the eagles are representative of Chrysler’s car models produced during the 1930s.

The three-story crown is made from stainless steel and is adorned with triangular windows, decorative banding, as well as an illuminated spire, allowing the building to stand-out brilliantly in the skyline of Manhattan.

Observation Deck of the Chrysler Building

The observation deck of the Chrysler building is one of the city’s highest, offering a celestial view of New York City. It was once the highest open-air observation deck with an exclusive panorama of the city.

In 1945 the U.S. Army’s Signal Corps removed the public observation deck, then ensuing safety and liability concerns resulted in the closing of the deck. Although the observation deck is now closed to the public, many other landmarks in the city offer top-notch views.

History of the Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building was built between 1928 and 1930, during the Roaring Twenties period, a period of great prosperity in America. It was designed by William Van Alen, a New York City architect who designed the building to surpass the nearby Reynolds Building known as the Skyscraper of the South.

Van Alens design for the Chrysler Building was intended to showcase the company’s automotive know-how and technological advancements.

Ownership Changes of the Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Corporation bought the building in the late 1930s and held onto it until the 1950s when the Chrysler family sold it. The building was later sold for various other prices, reaching a record of $800 million in 2001.

Over time, defaulting on loans brought the property into disrepair, which heightened safety concerns, resulting in a period of closure. Despite the setbacks, the building’s iconic exterior and interior continue to make it a desirable property in Manhattan.

Current Ownership of the Chrysler Building

The current owners of the Chrysler Building are RFR Holding LLC, the German private real estate investment company that purchased the building for $150 million in 2019. The building is used mainly for an architectural firm office space.

However, the building’s ornate lobby featuring marble floors, artful ceiling murals, and metallic friezes of American industrial scenes are still open to the public.


Thus, the ornamentation and observation deck of the Chrysler Building, along with its rich history and ownership, have contributed to its iconic status in the world of architecture. The building’s unique exterior ornamentation and interior design reflect the forward-thinking modernism that William Van Alen intended.

The building continues to remain an essential part of the New York City skyline, attracting tourists from all over the globe. Although the observation deck may no longer be open for visitors, the Chrysler Building’s beauty can still be appreciated from its surroundings.The Chrysler Building has been a symbol of New York City since its construction in the 1930s.

Its iconic design and unique ornamentation have earned it a place in the city’s landscape, making it one of the most recognized structures in the world. Today, the Chrysler Building continues to be significant and relevant, serving as a prestigious business address that houses various companies while remaining a symbol of the city that never sleeps.

Continuity as a New York City Landmark

As a New York City landmark, the Chrysler Building holds a significant position in the city’s history. From appearances in movies to music videos, the building has maintained its relevance and status as one of the most recognizable structures in the world.

The Chrysler Building’s role in pop culture has helped ensure its endurance as an iconic representation of modernist architecture.

Tenants and Usage of the Chrysler Building

Over the years, the Chrysler Building has drawn some of the most notable and prestigious companies as its tenants. Currently, the building houses various media, finance, and legal companies, including InterMedia Partners, YES Network, and Blank Rome LLP.

With such a diverse selection of tenants, it’s evident that the Chrysler Building continues to be an essential destination for businesses seeking prestige and cachet. The view from the top-floor offices is also exceptional.

Recent Ownership Changes and Renovation Efforts

In 2019, Aby Rosen, a prominent New York City real estate developer, acquired the Chrysler Building along with RFR Holding LLC. Soon after their acquisition, the COVID-19 pandemic led to challenges in the real estate market, affecting the demand for high-end office spaces.

The pandemic also interrupted renovation efforts that were underway, adding to the delay in tenant occupancy. Fortunately, the pandemic did not impact the building’s status as a landmark or its appeal to businesses and tourists.

Its ownership change also brought a renewed interest in restoring and preserving the Chrysler Building’s structural integrity. Rosen has pledged millions of dollars towards renovations and restorations to ensure the building remains an important commercial and cultural fixture in New York City’s skyline.


The Chrysler Building has an enduring legacy as an architectural masterpiece and an integral part of New York City’s history. Even after years of changes in ownership and usage, the building continues to remain relevant and significant.

As one of the most recognized structures in the world, the building’s iconic design, illustrious history, and continued renovation efforts serve as a symbol of modern-day New York City and its ambition for excellence. The Chrysler Building stands as a timeless symbol of New York City, captivating people with its unique ornamentation and iconic design.

Its significance as a New York City landmark remains unwavering, attracting prestigious tenants and serving as an emblem of architectural excellence. Despite ownership changes and recent challenges, the building’s legacy perseveres, fueled by restoration efforts and a commitment to preserving its grandeur.

The Chrysler Building is a testament to the city’s bold spirit and enduring allure. Its story offers a reminder that even in the face of change, architectural marvels can stand as cultural touchstones and sources of inspiration for generations to come.

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