The next iconic building in our series is another skyscraper that for a while enjoyed the title of the tallest building in the world, namely the Chrysler Building in New York. This very original skyscraper was completed in May 1930 in an era of competitive construction to be the world’s tallest skyscraper.
The building had a shaky start as its design by William van Alen was very costly and advanced for the time and only came in to being when Walter Chrysler of the Chrysler Corporation became involved. He worked with Van Alen to redesign the skyscraper to house the Chrysler headquarters.
At one point 3,000 construction workers were working on the tower simultaneously, managing to build at an average rate of 4 floors a week. Despite this tremendous activity there were no construction worker deaths.
Although the completed building was 282m tall it wasn’t quite the tallest building in the world so they addressed the problem in secret. A 38m tall spire was added making the building the first manmade structure to stand over 1,000ft (319m) tall. Unfortunately for the Chrysler Building less than a year later it lost that title to The Empire State Building but to date has kept the title of the world’s tallest steel supported brick building.
The Chrysler Building in keeping with its automobile heritage has many interesting features in its Art Deco architecture. The corners of the 31st floor are replicas of the 1929 Chrysler radiator caps and there are gargoyles in the form of radiator caps, car bumpers, and bonnet ornaments.
Here is the figure you have all been waiting for; there are 3,862 windows on its façade with many triangular vaulted windows in its terraced, stainless steel crown.
Although when the building first opened, the public could go to the 71st floor viewing gallery, that closed in 1945 and now should you wish to visit, the only accessible area to the public is the lobby.
In 2005 the Chrysler Building came first in a competition run by the Skyscraper Museum to choose the 10 favourite skyscrapers in New York, receiving 90% of the votes. We can certainly see why!