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Chrysler Building facts for kids

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Chrysler Building
Chrysler Building.jpg
Record height
Tallest in the world from 1930 to 1931
Preceded by The Trump Building
Surpassed by Empire State Building
General information
Location New York City
United States
Completed 1930
Antenna spire 319 m (1046 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 77

The Chrysler Building is a skyscraper in New York City, United States. It is 319 meters (1046 feet) tall and has 77 floors. It was built in 1931 and is one of the tallest buildings in the world.

The Chrysler Building was the tallest building in the world from 1930 to 1931. Before it was built, the tallest building in the world was The Trump Building. The Empire State Building became the tallest one year later. The Chrysler Building is still the tallest brick building in the world.

The Chrysler Building was also the tallest structure in the world from 1930 to 1931. Before it was built, the tallest structure in the world was Eiffel Tower. The Empire State Building became the tallest one year later.


Chrysler Building Midtown Manhattan New York City 1932
The Chrysler Building in 1932
Chrysler Building 2005 3
The Chrysler Building, as seen from the Empire State Building in June 2005

The Chrysler Building was designed by architect William Van Alen for a project of Walter P. Chrysler. When the ground breaking occurred on September 19, 1928, there was an intense competition in New York City to build the world's tallest skyscraper. Despite a frantic pace (the building was built at an average rate of four floors per week), no workers died during the construction of this skyscraper.

Design beginnings

Van Alen's original design for the skyscraper called for a decorative jewel-like glass crown. It also featured a base in which the showroom windows were tripled in height and topped by 12 stories with glass-wrapped corners, creating an impression that the tower was floating in mid-air. The height of the skyscraper was also originally designed to be 246 meters (807 ft). However, the design proved to be too advanced and costly for building contractor William H. Reynolds, who disapproved of Van Alen's original plan. The design and lease were then sold to Walter P. Chrysler, who worked with Van Alen and redesigned the skyscraper for additional stories; it was eventually revised to be 282 m (925 ft) tall. As Walter Chrysler was the chairman of the Chrysler Corporation and intended to make the building into Chrysler's headquarters, various architectural details and especially the building's gargoyles were modeled after Chrysler automobile products like the hood ornaments of the Plymouth; they exemplify the machine age in the 1920's.


Construction commenced on September 19, 1928. In total, 391,881 rivets were used and approximately 3,826,000 bricks were manually laid, to create the non-load-bearing walls of the skyscraper. Contractors, builders and engineers were joined by other building-services experts to coordinate construction.

The spire was delivered to the site in four different sections. On October 23, 1929, the bottom section of the spire was hoisted to the top of the building's dome and lowered into the 66th floor of the building. The other remaining sections of the spire were hoisted and riveted to the first one in sequential order in just 90 minutes.


Upon completion on May 27, 1930, the added height of the spire allowed the Chrysler Building to surpass 40 Wall Street as the tallest building in the world and the Eiffel Tower as the tallest structure. It was the first man-made structure to stand taller than 1,000 feet (305 m). Less than a year after it opened to the public on May 27, 1930, the Chrysler Building was surpassed in height by the Empire State Building, but the Chrysler Building is still the world's tallest steel-supported brick building.


Chrysler Building detail
Detail of the Art Deco ornamentation at the crown
Chrysler Building Lobby 2
Chrysler Building Lobby

The Chrysler Building is considered a leading example of Art Deco architecture. The corners of the 61st floor are graced with eagles; on the 31st floor, the corner ornamentation are replicas of the 1929 Chrysler radiator caps. The building is constructed of masonry, with a steel frame, and metal cladding. The building currently contains a total of 3,862 windows on its facades. Inside, there are four banks of 8 elevators designed by the Otis Elevator Corporation. The building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976, and a New York City Landmark in 1978.

When the building first opened, it contained a public viewing gallery on the 71st floor, which was closed to the public in 1945. This floor is now the highest occupied floor of the Chrysler Building. There are two sets of lighting in the top spires and decoration. The first are the V-shaped lighting inserts in the steel of the building itself. Added later were groups of floodlights that are on mast arms directed back at the building. This allows the top of the building to be lit in many colors for special occasions.


The Chrysler Building has been shown in several movies that take place in New York. In the summer of 2005, the Skyscraper Museum in Lower Manhattan asked one hundred architects, builders, critics, engineers, historians, and scholars, among others, to choose their 10 favorites among 25 of the city's towers. The Chrysler Building came in first place, as 90% of respondents placed the building among their top 10 favorite buildings.

The Chrysler Building's distinctive profile has inspired similar skyscrapers worldwide; including One Liberty Place in Philadelphia, and the Al Kazim Towers in Dubai.

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