Regarded as one of the most beautiful Art Deco masterpieces in the urban landscape of New York City, the Chanin Building utilized several materials is a number of unconventional ways.
Occupying a central location just a stone?s throw away from the Grand Central Terminal on East 42nd Street, the Chanin Building was one of the highest skyscrapers built during its time with 56 stories and stands at 680 feet. It was built from 1927 to 1929 spearheaded by Irwin Chanin who was a well-known NYC developer.
The Chanin Building and its owner Irwin Chanin is considered by many as a prime illustration of the American Dream which came true. Twenty years before the iconic building was finished, Irwin Chanin was just starting his construction business after serving as an engineer on the development of the city?s subway. He started with only 200$ and with the help of additional financing, Chanin?s business began humbly, constructing modest abodes in Brooklyn. Sooner than later, his small construction endeavor expanded into an empire as Chanin built apartment complexes, theatres and hotels, which, of course, earned him a great deal of wealth. The Chanin Building is the pinnacle of his success which he considered as a symbol of growth and advancement.
Just like many skyscrapers built during its time and in compliance with the previous New York zoning laws, the Chanin Building is positioned away from its base made of limestone in a succession of small setbacks that go up to more or less the 30th floor.
The imposing skyscraper is fashioned from terra cotta and buff-brick accentuated by buttresses carved out of limestone found at the crown and at the base. It was the pioneering skyscraper which combined metal, stone and colored glass on its fa?ade, something that numerous skyscrapers that was constructed after it copied. It is crowned by a unique Art Deco crest which is made of an array of buttresses. During the night, this crown is backlighted, generating a stunning lighted visual which can be seen over 70 kilometers away.
Apart from being a beautiful figure in New York City?s skyline, Chanin Building?s most notable influence to the city?s skyscraper design practice is its magnificent interior and exterior embellishments. Outside, a belt of terra cotta shows elegant patterns which look like leaves while a lovely bronze ornamentation found on the street level illustrates what looks like the early stages of the Theory of Evolution. The storefronts are also decorated with zigzag designs overlapped with coiling petals.
There are two lobbies found within the skyscraper and they match the exterior of the building in beauty equally. Chanin tapped into the expertise of Rene Chambellan who became popular for his architectural statues and Jacques Delamare in crating the lobbies. It is believed that the lobbies are meant to show the opportunities in New York, both the ?intellectual? opportunities and the ?physical? opportunities. The two themed lobbies are teeming with plaster masterpieces made in cubist aesthetic.
Much though was also given to the design of the elevators. The elevator found in the main lobby has a goose style and before it went all the way up to the uppermost floor where Chanin?s office was found behind bronze gates. The gates are believed to denote New York City?s eminence. Aside from the beautiful gates, the office itself is embellished with Art Deco elements.
An intricate movie house and an alfresco observation deck was once found here but both are already closed.