Chanin Building
Sloan & Robertson
New York City, 1929

The Chanin Building has been largely forgotten by architectural critics, but it reflects an important development in the skyscraper. The building has almost totally abandoned the square tower form and adopted a new shape: the slender rectangular slab. This created a feeling of lightness and verticality new to the skyscraper. The gothic ornamentation was also flung aside for the ornate Art Deco bas-reliefs around the crown and base. The interior followed this schema, even owner Irwin Chanin's private path was an explosion of Art Deco tiling. Although it was not taller than the Woolworth Building, it had more floors. The Chanin Building was also the first tall building in mid-town Manhattan, in the neighborhood of the Chrysler Building.