Chances are, you can easily picture the Chrysler Building in your head, or the Empire State Building – but do you know what kind of architecture either of those are? Sure, “skyscraper” may come to mind – but that’s the type of building, rather than the actual styling of architecture. Many Americans don’t even realize that some of the most famous buildings in America are of the Art Deco era. In fact, many of them have never even heard of Art Deco. So where are all of these famous, American Art Deco icons? Here’s a look into 5 of the most famous buildings in America that happen to be of Art Deco style.
Perhaps one of the most well recognized, respected buildings in America – the Empire State Building. For several decades, the Empire State Building was the proud monument known as the “World’s Tallest Building.” It held that title from the early 1930s up until 1972, when the World Trade Center (the ‘Twin Towers’) was built. Since the demise of the Twin Towers in 2001, the Empire State Building has reclaimed the title as the tallest building in New York City. Both the interior and exterior of the Empire State Building are laden with Art Deco style, from the original entranceway and up to the top floors of the observatory deck.
Another well recognized building in New York City is the Chrysler Building. The Chrysler Building is a picture perfect example of Art Deco architecture, especially in New York City. For a few short months, the Chrysler Building held the title for the “World’s Tallest Building” but lost it shortly after completion to the Empire State Building. The spire on the Chrysler Building is the most significant detail that screams ‘Art Deco.’ The rounded arches are very characteristic of that time period.
Rockefeller Center is among one of the many structures built during the Art Deco period in New York City. While it’s not nearly as extravagant on the exterior as the Empire State Building or the Chrysler Building, it still has it’s fair share of Art Decor detailing. In fact, Rockefeller Center was actually designed by one of the most famous Art Deco architects at the time, Raymond Hood.
Chicago’s Mather Tower (located at 75 E. Wacker Drive) was built in the late 1920s. This particular skyscraper gracing Chicago’s skyline is very characteristic with clean lines and streamline detailing, making it a great representation of the Art Deco period.
Miami has perhaps some of the largest districts of intact Art Deco architecture. Particularly in South Beach, you can find dozens upon dozens of Art Deco style hotels that have been immaculately preserved in all their originality. Perhaps among the most famous is the Park Central Hotel. At the heart of the Art Deco district in South Beach, on Ocean Drive; this building was erected in 1937 with classic modern, streamline design.
Retropolis.net; “Rockefeller Center”
Retropolis.net; “The Park Central Hotel”
About.com; “Architecture History Photo Guide: Art Deco”
CityofChicago.org; “Mather Tower”
About.com; “Pictures of the World’s Tallest Buildings: The Empire State Building”