The history of the Chrysler Building in Manhattan goes back to the beginning of Walter Percy Chrysler’s fortunes, who, from machinist apprentice at the Union Pacific Railroad, went on to become one of the most famous automobile producers in the world.
Chrysler dreamed of a building that was not only the headquarters for his corporation, but also a symbol of the city. He therefore commissioned the design and construction of the tallest building in the city and in the world.
Designed by William Van Alen, a graduate from the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, the building is an example of Art Decò architecture, with a spire made of 316L steel, which, with its triple-arched bays and triangular windows, recalled the radiators of cars at the time. The spire was kept a surprise until the last moment, in order to be able to exceed the height of the Bank of Manhattan, designed by Van Alen’s rival Severance and built at the same time.
Completed in 1930, 319 meters tall with 77 floors, it was crowned the tallest building in the world.