When you think about New York City, probably the first thing that comes to your mind is its architecture, more specifically skyscrapers, that distinguish itself from the city panorama. The most common one is of course Empire State Building, that became the symbol of the city. Although this building is almost twice higher than the other ones, there are some beautiful skyscrapers that were build at the beginning of the XX century. Not like modern skyscrapers, made from glass and steel, theirs structure is really original. I choose few of the best examples of the earliest New York City skyscrapers, but intentionally didn’t point them out, to give you a little task finding them.
Flat Iron Building
Flat Iron Building was designed by Daniel Turnham on 1902. His project showed how skyscrapers will change the city by expanding it upwards and giving more office spaces or apartments. At the beginning, the building was called Fuller Building, after the name of a funder, but due to his unusual shape, New Yorkers decided to connect its name with an iron. Architecture of the building was designed to look like a modern palazzo, that’s why it has a plinth at the bottom, levels of windows and molding with cornice at the top. Unlike the the surroundings it is really decorative, almost in Art Nouveau style. It has 21 floors and at that time was the highest building in New York City. Even though it wasn’t popular around critics, inhabitants loved it and they still do.
At the beginning of the XX century there were a serious competition in building skyscrapers. Everyone wanted to project a higher one. After the Flat Iron Building this title was held by Woolworth Building. The building was designed for an american entrepreneur F. W. Woolworth by Cass Gilbert. In 1913 architect finished a building that looked like a gothic cathedral, with a central tower and gothic ornaments covering almost it all. Woolworth Building was the highest until Trump Building (build a year after).
This eye catching and original building was finished in 1930 by William van Alen for Walter Chrysler, the owner of Chrysler company. At that time, when the Chrysler Building were build, another skyscraper started rising – Empire State Building. Due to its simultaneous works the goal was to finish first and become the highest. The project was strictly confidential. Chrysler Building made it to the top, having 77 floors and a big spire, which resembled famous Chrysler car body. Unfortunately, its glory last only for a year, because on 1931 Empire State Building was finished.
Empire State Building
This iconic skyscraper was the biggest achievement, when it comes to United States skyscrapers architecture. It was build simultaneously with Chrysler Building and 40 Wall Street, but at the end it became the highest in 1931, having 102 floors with 443 m spire. What is even more important, is that it held that title for almost 40 years, until the World Trade Center skyscrapers were build. Empire State Building was the first designed in Art Deco style, it was deprived from any kind of ornaments unlike earlier ones. Instead of those adornments it was very minimal, clean and stark, being diversified only with an architecture. The minimal, modern style that it represented, had a huge influence in later building.
Rockefeller Plaza Building
Rockefeller Family, the most iconic one in New York City, decided to rise not one but 19 different buildings for its glory, which were standing along 5th and 6th Street. The whole complex was titled The Rockefeller Center, holding the office spaces, museums etc. The most important and the highest was 30 Rockefeller Plaza, named also GE Building. It was finished in 1933, having 70 floors. Its architecture was influenced by the Empire State Building style – Art deco. Just like the original one, it has no adornments only plain rock structure. It was this skyscraper that in the end was the most similar to cuboid modern ones.
Until next time!