In the first few decades of the 20th century, cities across the world began to experience a surge in population growth. Massive towers began to appear in densely populated business districts and skylines were irrevocably changed as a result. These architectural marvels were known as ‘skyscrapers’ – or ‘high-rise buildings’, as they are commonly referred to today – and were constructed almost entirely out of steel. Within just 50 years, their height had increased tenfold and they had sprouted up in all corners of the globe, redefining our expectations of what a skyscraper could look like in the process.
New York is the city of tall buildings so there's no wonder our list of top 10 Art Deco skyscrapers contains a lot of buildings in the big apple.
1. The Chrysler Building
Height: 1,046 ft (319 m)
One of the most beautiful examples of Art Deco architecture is the Chrysler Building in New York City. It was constructed in the early 1930s and, at the time, was one of the tallest buildings in the world. The facade features a stunning arrangement of setbacks and spires that give it an elegant, almost fairy-tale appearance. The building incorporates all of the essential elements from Art Deco design; luxe materials and dramatic shapes combined with streamlined details. The exterior’s surface is split into three main sections: bronze-tinted glass panels alternate with ornate geometric patterns while light beige Indiana limestone frames each section.
2. Empire State Building
Height: 1,454 ft (443.2 m)
Known for its iconic Art Deco design, the Empire State Building is one of the most famous skyscrapers in the world. The building’s construction began on March 17, 1930 and it opened just a year later on May 1, 1931. Located on Fifth Avenue between West 33rd and 34th Streets in New York City, the iconic building is not just an architectural landmark but also an icon of American culture around the world.
3. Daily News Building
Height: 476 ft (145.09 m)
One of the most iconic Art Deco buildings The Daily News Building is one of the most iconic Art Deco buildings in New York City. The building was designed by Raymond Hood, who had a reputation for designing some of the country’s most innovative and stylish buildings. In 1928, the art deco skyscraper was completed with a height of 328 feet (100 meters). It is located on the west side of Manhattan Island along 42nd Street between Second and Third Avenues. It is one of the tallest and best-known examples of early 1930s architecture in New York City.
4. Guardian Building
Height: 495 ft (151 m)
One of the most well-known examples of this is the Guardian Building in Detroit. Constructed in 1928, the tower was designed by architects Louis Kamper and Wirt C. Rowland and constructed of limestone, limestone ashlar and terra cotta. It remains one of Michigan's most iconic buildings to this day, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989. Located just off Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit, it stands at a height of 495 feet or 151 meters with 40 stories. The building is an example of the Art Deco architectural style popular during that period, with its distinctive vertical lines, geometric shapes and decorative detailing on the exterior making it look like it is covered with hieroglyphics!
5. LeVeque Tower
Height: 555 ft (169 m)
In 1930, the LeVeque Tower was completed in downtown Columbus, Ohio. With a height of 555 feet or 169 meters, it is the tallest building in the state of Ohio and the tallest skyscraper outside of New York City or Chicago. It would be considered an ‘Art Deco’ style building if it were constructed today. The design for the LeVeque Tower began in 1927 with construction beginning in 1929. The completed tower was named after its builder and financier John H. Leveque and managed by his company, J.H. Leveque & Sons Investment Company Limited Partnership. Today, LeVeque Tower Apartments is a residential tower located on Front Street in downtown Columbus where residents can enjoy views of both the cityscape and Ohio River Valley from any room in the building. There are also several other Art Deco skyscrapers in America that are worth checking out!
6. The El Dorado Luxury Housing
Height: 346 ft (105 m)
The El Dorado luxury housing tower in New York City is one of the tallest residential buildings in North America. This building has an incredible 360-degree view of the city and is located on Central Park at the corner of Central Park South and 7th Avenue. It is a 50-story luxury building with a total of 326 units and includes amenities such as a fitness center, indoor pool, and private dining room. This building was designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects, who drew inspiration from New York’s early skyscrapers by incorporating Art Deco elements into the design.
7. American Radiator Building
Height: 338 ft (103 m)
The American Radiator Building is the oldest skyscraper in New York City, designed by the famous skyscraper architects Raymond Hood and André Fouilhoux. From across the street, it looks like a monolithic stone edifice but on closer inspection, you can see that it was actually built out of steel and clad with granite and terra cotta tiles to give it a more traditional look. Nowadays, one of its most notable features is the gargoyle perched on top of its tower, which is illuminated at night and watches over Lower Manhattan.