14/50.- New York, Chrysler Building


The Chrysler Building was the tallest building in New York for a short while. The story of the building starts in 1928 when Walter P. Chrysler commissioned Van Allen to construct an office building.

To fulfill Mr. Chrysler’s ambition, Van Allen designed this 319 meter (1050 feet) Art Deco building, which resembles an old Chrysler car. Craig Severance's Bank of Manhattan would have been taller, if Van Allen had not hidden the needle-like top inside the spire. His former partner, and at that time rival, had no time to react when Van Allen raised the needle from inside the building in less than two hours. His master piece was 37 meters taller than Severance’s. But Van Allen's fame did not last long. After being accused of bribery, Mr. Chrysler didn't want to pay him. And although the beauty of the work is indisputable, he fell in disgrace and was never contracted again to design a skyscraper.

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