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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

- NYC: Chrysler Building and Mobil Building

The Chrysler Building, standing 1,046 feet high on the east side of Manhattan at the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue, was the first structure in the world to surpass the 1,000 foot threshold. Despite being overtaken by the Empire State Building as the tallest building in the world during the 1930s, the Chrysler Building is still the tallest brick building in the world.

The Chrysler Building is an example of Art Deco architecture, and the distinctive ornamentation of the tower is based on features that were then being used on Chrysler automobiles. The corners of the 61st floors are graced with eagles, replicas of the 1929 Chrysler hood ornaments. On the 31st floors the corner ornamentation are replicas of the 1929 Chrysler radiator caps.

The lobby is similarly elegant. When the building first opened it contained a public viewing gallery near the top, which a few years later was changed into a restaurant, but neither of these enterprises was able to be financially self sustaining during the Great Depression and the former observation floor became a private club. The very top stories of the building are narrow with low sloped ceilings, designed mostly for exterior appearance with interiors useful only to hold radio broadcasting and other mechanical and electrical equipment.

The Chrysler Building was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1978.

In 2007, The Chrysler Building was ranked #9 on the AIA 150 America's Favorite Architecture list.

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