The Chrysler Building is an Art Deco style skyscraper in New York, located at the East Side of Manhattan. It was designed by William van Alen for Walter P. Chrysler. Chrysler paid for the design and building with his private money rather than that of the Chrysler Company as he wanted his children to be able to inherit the estate. They later sold it.
The building was erected between September 1928 and May 1930 at a rate of four floors a week. Despite the fast pace no workers were killed during the construction.
It was designed to house the Chrysler headquarters, what it did from 1930 to the mid 1950s. The original van Alen design had more glass and less height to make the skyscraper look like it was floating, yet it was too technically advanced and needed revision. After a change of plans the building was for 11 months the tallest building/structure in the world with 319m. 11 months after its completion it was surpassed by the Empire State Building. Yet, up to today it is the tallest steel and brick structure of the world.
The Chrysler Building is one of the leading examples of art deco architecture. It is constructed of masonry with steel frames and metal cladding. Since it was designed to be the headquarters of Chrysler its ornamentation like gargoyles etc. were modeled after Chrysler automobile products like the hood ornaments of the Plymouth or the 1929 Chrysler radiator caps. The main feature is the bursting sun crown made of seven terraced arches of a crucified groin vault construction that are clad in ribbed and riveted stainless steel plates with triangular, vaulted windows. Lightning is installed in the steel of the walls as well as on mast arms directed back at the building so that it can be lit in many colors for special occasions.