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USA

Chrysler Building New York

Walter P Chrysler, the car manufacturer, founded his corporation in 1925 and wanted headquarters in New York to symbolize the company. William Van Alen was the architect and his original plan was to produce a chrome structure to be the tallest in the world at 840 feet high .However, a battle started when H. Craig Severance, his previous partner and now rival, announced that his design for the new headquarters of the Bank of Manhattan would be two feet higher than the Chrysler building. In 1929 the bank topped out at 927 feet after having had ten penthouse floors added and a fifty foot flagpole. However, six weeks after it looked like Severance had won, a 185 foot steel spire which had been assembled inside the lift shaft was raised up and bolted in place. The spike raised the Chrysler building's height to 1046 feet which was 117 feet higher than the Bank of Manhattan. On the 61st floor there are stainless steel gargoyles of eagles, those on lower floors were shaped to resemble the radiator caps of a 1928 Chrysler car. The spire was modeled on a radiator grille and was restored in 1996. The only full time occupant of the building was Margaret Bourke White. She was a photojournalist and lived and worked in a highly decorated studio on the 61st floor. The lobby was used as a showroom for Chrysler cars and is decorated with patterned marble and granite from around the world. A vast painted ceiling shows transportation scenes of the late 1920's. One year after its completion it lost the title of the highest building to the Empire State Building.

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