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Chrysler Building – Early Metal Art Deco Architecture

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 Chrysler Building is an Art Deco style skyscraper in New York City, located on the east side of Manhattan. At 1,046 feet (319 m), the structure was the world's tallest building for 11 months before it was surpassed by the Empire State Building in 1931. It is still the tallest brick building in the world, albeit with an internal steel skeleton.

The Chrysler Building is a classic example of Art Deco architecture and considered by many contemporary architects to be one of the finest buildings in New York City. It was the headquarters of the Chrysler Corporation from 1930 until the mid-1950s, but, although the building was built and designed specifically for the car manufacturer, the corporation did not pay for the construction of it and never owned it, as Walter P. Chrysler decided to pay for it himself, so that his children could inherit it – Source Wikipedia 

Metal Case Study

There are approximately 12,500 panels of stainless steel sheet metal totalling 125,000-square feet (12,000 sm); 105,000-square feet (10,000 sm) below the 75th floor and 20,000-square feet (2,000 sm) above; with 115,000-linear feet (35,000 m) of joints and seams. The spire portion of the façade is punctuated by 120 triangular windows.

Even though the building is exuberant in machine age iconography, most of the decorative work is hand crafted, including replicas of hubcaps, radiator cap hood ornaments, pineapples, eagle head gargoyles at the 60th floor and the famous spire. The stainless steel sheet metal cladding is the centuries old technology of sheet metal roofing involving flat and standing seams. This system is created by a series of folds interlocking each panel to the next.

Seams and joints were typically sealed with white lead paste, most of which had deteriorated and washed out over the past seven decades. The sheet metal is anchored to the building with narrow strips of sheet metal, called cleats, folded into the seams. The cleats were nailed to wooden battens built into the masonry or simply nailed directly to the backup masonry. There is a layer of asphalt felt between the sheet metal and the masonry which acts as a slip sheet and backup waterproofing.

The building is capped by its famous stainless steel spire. This material is actually 22-gauge (0.080 mm) Nirosta manufactured and supplied by the company to first discover stainless steel, Krups of Germany. This material is very similar to contemporary 302 stainless. It was the first use of architectural stainless steel sheet metal in the world. Source – A Case Study of Early Steel Curtain Wall written by Eric Hammarberg



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