The talk of the day in the architecture/real estate world: Amazon is close to signing a lease for at the Chrysler Building. What has made this skyscraper a New York City architecture icon, and an example of the finest building of its time, or as described by the NYT, "the single most important emblem of architectural imagery on the New York skyline"? The fact that it was the world's tallest tower when it was completed in 1930, is just a minor detail in the myth of this ambitious tower, initiated by legendary estate developer William H. Reynolds, constructed by Walter Chrysler as the Chrysler's headquarters, and designed by William Van Alen. The Chrysler Building is one of the greatest manifestations of Expressionism in architecture, and not as many refer to as Art Deco. The metal-and-glass dome with its sharp triangular ornaments came to represent a jeweled crystal, the symbol or hope, victory, and purity. The emotional effect, the symbolic expression of the glass, and the romantic notions of lightning, crystal and rock formations, are all represented in the Chrysler Building. The material, stainless steel, was first utilized in this enormous scale in all exterior ornaments, window frames, the crown, and the needle. The building's position as a popular cultural icon was further established by the number of films such as King Kong, The Wiz, and Armageddon. I have chosen to illustrate this post by the famed photos by Margaret Bourke-White, who was commissioned by Walter Chrysler himself in 1929, and the famed photo taken by her partner Oscar Graubner "Margaret Bourke-White atop the Chrysler Building", which depicts her taking a photo of the city's skyline while sitting on one of the 61st-floor eagle ornaments, recently auctioned by Christie's (below). Amazon at the Chrysler: visionary company in a visionary building.
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