The Chrysler Building

A description of the famous building in New York City called the Chrysler Building.

This paper offers a look at the history and design of the famous Chrysler Building. The writer describes both the exterior and interior of the building, as well as the architectural structure. The paper then offers some information on the architect himself, William Van Alen, and the original deal that led to the purchase of the site and plans to build the building.
“Architect William Van Alen originally designed the Chrysler Building for real estate speculator William H. Reynolds, but in 1928, Walter Percy Chrysler, head of the Chrysler Motor Corporation, purchased the site on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street in midtown Manhattan, as well as Van Alen’s plans. (Sandler, 1996) Those plans were changed as the design began to reflect Chrysler’s forceful personality. The project soon became caught up in the fixated quest for height that swept through the city’s commercial architecture in the 1920s and 1930s. Buildings rose taller and taller as owners sought both to maximize office space as well as to increase consumer visibility. Van Alen’s initial design anticipated a 925-foot building with a rounded, Byzantine or Moorish top. At the same time, however, Van Alen’s former partner, H. Craig Severance, was building the 927-foot Bank of the Manhattan Company on Wall Street. Not to be outdone, Van Alen revised his plans, with Chrysler’s blessing, to include a new tapering top that culminated in a spire, bringing the total height to 1,046 feet and establishing the Chrysler Building as the world’s tallest, briefly anyway.”