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Design Icon: Chrysler Building


Design: Chrysler Building

Date: 1928-1930

Architect: William Van Alen

Location: New York, NY

Style: Art Deco

Background: Designed as the headquarters for the Chrysler Corporation, this New York City landmark was built during a boom time in skyscraper construction. During the late 20s and early 30s, architects, builders and companies were seeking to make their mark on the city’s skyline, vying for the title of world’s tallest building. The Chrysler building achieved this designation when it was finished in 1930, but only for a short time (it would be surpassed by The Empire State Building less than a year later, in April 1931). Although the building is no longer owned by Chrysler, the decorative detailing employed by the structure hints at its automotive roots—gargoyles are designed to resemble Chrysler hood ornaments and the stainless steel cladding evokes the exterior of a car.

Illustration by Libby VanderPloeg.

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Eva Lee

Love New York! Is somebody here going to ICFF this weekend?
I really need to check Tom Dixon, Vitra, Brabbu collections!


One of my favorite 99 Percent Invisible podcasts tells the story of the Chrysler building. It’s titled “Higher and Higher”. Great story!

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