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Architecture in Art – Mark Laguë’s Chrysler Building

November 4, 2022
Mark Laguë - Chrysler Building

Mark Laguë – Chrysler Building

A few weeks ago, we took a look at Grand Central Station through the work of Johann Berthelsen. As I mention in that post, the station attracted a ton of real estate development in the area… it eventually became known as Terminal City, the most desirable commercial location in New York.

Chrysler Building circa 1930

Chrysler Building circa 1930

Possibly the most notable structure that went up in the wake of Grand Central’s completion is the iconic Chrysler Building. In Mark Laguë’s Chrysler Building, the tower rises up and towers over its surroundings. It’s situated in today’s Midtown East, and more specifically the Turtle Bay neighborhood. Though the 1,046 foot tower now only ranks number 11 on the list of tallest building in the city, when it was completed in 1930 it was the tallest building in the world… but that only lasted 11 months. In a race to be the tallest building, Walter Chrysler hurried to beat the Empire State Building to completion… but in doing so, he left the other developers enough time for last minute revisions and the Empire State Building opened in 1931 at 1,250 feet (but that’s for another day).

Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building’s 77 stories required approximately 30,000 tons of steel and nearly 4 million bricks! While it was built and designed specifically for the car manufacturer, the Chrysler corporation didn’t pay for any of the construction and never owned it… the company’s founder and American Automobile pioneer Walter Chrysler funded the entire $20 million project personally so his children could inherit it.

It also has some pop-culture significance as it’s been featured in a ton of movies… like when Spider-Man perched up on one of the gargoyle-like ornaments on the 61st floor overlooking the city; or when an asteroid knocked off the top half in Armageddon.

Today, the Chrysler Building remains one of the most prominent features of New York’s skyline. It was designated as both a City Landmark and a National Historic Landmark, as it is widely regarded as the paragon of Art Deco architecture.