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CHRYSLER BUILDING (1928-30), NEW YORK
The Chrysler Building was designed by architect William Van Alen for a project
of Walter P. Chrysler.
• Art Deco, is an eclectic artistic and design style that began in Paris in the 1920s and
flourished internationally throughout the 1930s and into the World War II era.
• The style influenced all areas of design, including architecture and interior design,
industrial design, fashion and jewelry, as well as the visual arts such as painting,
graphic arts and film.
• The exposition Internationale des ArtsDecoratifs et Industriels Modernes(Industrial
and Decorative art exhibition) in 1925 in Paris kicked off the worldwide Art Deco
movement. This was a huge break for the past design styles and it mimics machine
age. Adopted for buildings, the Art Deco architecture included flat roofs, flowing
forms, geometric patterns. It employed glass, steel, and concrete.
• At its best, art deco represented elegance, glamour, functionality and modernity.
• Art deco's linear symmetry was a distinct departure from the flowing asymmetrical
organic curves of its predecessor style art nouveau.
• It embraced influences from many different styles of the early twentieth century,
including neoclassical, constructivism, cubism, modernism and futurism and drew
inspiration from ancient Egyptian and Aztec forms.
• Although many design movements have political or philosophical beginnings or
intentions, art deco was purely decorative
• Art Deco also used Machine Age and streamline
technologies such as modern aviation, electric
lighting, radio, ocean liners and skyscrapers for
• The structure of Art Deco is based on
mathematical geometric shapes.
• Art-deco design influences were expressed in
the crystalline and faceted forms of decorative
Cubism and Futurism. Other popular themes of
Art Deco were trapezoidal, zigzagged,
geometric, and jumbled shapes, which can be
seen in many early works. Two great examples
of these themes and styles are in Detroit,
Michigan: The Fisher Building and The Guardian
Materials and design
• Art Deco is characterized by use of materials such as aluminium, stainless steel,
lacquer, Bakelite, Chrome and inlaid wood.
• Exotic materials such as sharkskin (shagreen), and zebra skin were also evident.
• The use of stepped forms and geometric curves (unlike the sinuous, natural curves
of Art Nouveau), chevron patterns, ziggurat-shapes, fountains, and the sunburst
motif are typical of Art Deco.
• Some of these motifs were universal – for example, sunburst motifs were used in
such varied contexts as women's shoes, radiator grilles, radio and clock faces, the
auditorium of the Radio City Music Hall, and the spire of the Chrysler Building.
Site plan: Chrysler building, New York
• The Chrysler Building is considered a
leading example of Art Deco
• The building is constructed of masonry,
with a steel frame, and metal cladding.
• Standing at 1,047 feet (319 m) tall, the
tower was briefly the world’s tallest
building, holding the crown for just 11
months before the Empire State Building
• The Chrysler Building is also renowned and recognized for its terraced crown.
• Composed of seven radiating terraced arches, Van Alen's design of the crown is a
cruciform groin vault constructed into seven concentric members with
transitioning setbacks, mounted up one behind another.
• The stainless-steel cladding is ribbed and riveted in a radiating sunburst pattern
with many triangular vaulted windows, transitioning into smaller segments of the
seven narrow setbacks of the facade of the terraced crown.
• Gargoyles and eagles ornamented
• It glorified the automobile industry
with its frieze of brick and steel
cars, eagles, and gargoyles.
The lobby has mural that covers the entire ceiling as a tribute to the age in which it
was created, it is filled with Deco triangles, sharp angles, slightly curved lines, chrome
detailing, and a multitude of patterns.
• The gorgeous walls of the lobby are made with a very expensive African marble.
• The lighting in the lobby is fairly sparse and dim, even
though the fixtures were powerful and iconic. This
lighting enhances the mural and the ornamentation.
- Khevna N. Shah_30