American Radiator Building

American Radiator Building
  1. About the American Radiator Building in New York
    1. Building Catalogations
  2. Architect and team
  3. Architectureal style
  4. Spaces and uses
  5. Structure and materials

The American Radiator Building is an Art-deco skyscraper designed by Howells & Hood and built between 1923 and 1924 in New York, NY.

American Radiator Building is not the only name you might know this building by though. The building is, or has also been known as American Standard Building.

Its precise street address is 40-52 W. 40th St, New York, NY. You can also find it on the map here.

The American Radiator Building is a structure of significant importance both for the city of New York and the United States as a nation. The building embodies the distinctive characteristic features of the time in which it was built and the Art Deco style. Because of that, the American Radiator Building was officially declared as a national landmark on November 12th 1974, and was included in the National Register of Historic Places on May 7th 1980.

At the time of its completion in 1924 the American Radiator Building incorporated solutions that were quite advanced at the time, these included the elevator doors, which could be opened by pressing a button instead of doing it manually as in most other buildings back then.

The building underwent a major restoration in 2001.

Building's timeline

Construction begins
Construction completed
Declared NL
Added to the NRHP
years ago
  1. 2001 - Converted to hotel.

Architect and team

Howells & Hood was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design. But there was also one other architect involved, as far as we know. We are talking about André Fouilhoux.

Howells & Hood was a prominent American architectural firm founded by John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood. The partnership between these two architects left a lasting legacy in the world of skyscraper design during the early 20th century.

Unlike other firms at the time, which would limit their area of influence to a single city or state, Howells & Hood’s buildings can be found in multiple locations, from New York to Chicago.

They are particularly known for their innovative approach to skyscraper design, and their role in this typology progressing from the neogothic and neoclassical to the more modern art-deco style.

Howells Hood

Howells & Hood and the other architects already mentioned were in charge of the architectural design, however, architecture is a complex discipline, which usually involves many professionals from different fields, without whom this building would have not been possible. We will surely be leaving out a lot of names here, but at the very least we know that there was one other part involved, that was Rene Paul Chambellan as the collaborating Artist.

Architectural Style

The American Radiator Building can be categorized as an Art-deco building.

The Art Deco movement flourished during the 1920s and 1930s, with many historians marking the outbreak of World War II as its final decline. Even though a couple of decades might not seem as much, the Art Deco movement had a great impact on architecture, and it's widely represented in many American cities due to the development boom that happened during that time.

Art Deco marked the abandonment of traditional historicism and the embracement of modern living and the age of the machine. In architecture, that meant leaving behind the ornaments of Beux-Arts and Neo-Gothic buildings and instead favoring simplicity and visual impact through geometric shapes, clean lines, and symmetrical designs. Ornaments were still an important part of the design, but they became bold and lavish, and were often inspired by ancient cultures or industrial imagery, instead of nature.

The American Radiator Building was completed in 1924. These were the early days of the Art Deco movement, when the style hadn't yet reached its maturity, and there fore it is more likely to to still have traces of the Classical or Gothic Revival periods which preceded Art-Deco.

Howells & Hood took a risk by designing a building that was ahead of its time, and which other architects sure took inspiration from as the Art Deco movement evolved.

Spaces & Uses

The American Radiator Building reaches an architectural height of 338ft (103m). It has a total of 24 floors, 23 above ground and 1 basements, served by 4 elevators, which combined offer a total of 77,500 sqf (7,200m2) of usable space.

When it opened its doors to the public in 1924, the American Radiator Building was primarily used as Commercial space. That however, is no longer the case, and today it mainly provides Hotel space.

About the Hotel

The hotel is a 4 stars category hotel, with a total of 130 rooms available to the public. The name of the hotel is Bryant Park Hotel.

338ft (103m)
1 basements

Materials & Structure

The American Radiator Building uses a frame structure made of steel columns and slabs.

A frame structure uses a combination of beams and columns to sustain the building's weight. The walls in this case are non-load bearing, which allows for more flexibility when distributing the interior spaces.

The facade is non-load bearing either, as it is common in frame structure type buildings.

From an aesthetic point of view, the facade features mostly black bricks, which gives the building its distinctive and misterious look, while also contrasting with the gold paint that covers the gothic motifs. On the ground floor black granite from Sweden was used instead of bricks, and the pinnacles of the tower are made out of terracotta..