Chanin Building

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

The Chanin Building is an Art-deco skyscraper designed by Sloan & Robertson and built between 1927 and 1929 in New York, NY.

Chanin Building is not the only name you might know this building by though. The building is, or has also been known as 122 East 42nd Street.

Its precise street address is 122 E 42nd St, New York, NY. You can also find it on the map here.

The Chanin 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 Chanin Building was officially declared as a national landmark on November 14th 1978, and was included in the National Register of Historic Places on May 23rd 1980.

At the time of its completion in 1929 the Chanin Building incorporated solutions that were quite advanced at the time, these included the self-supporting tower at the top of the building, which broadcasted FM from 1941 to 1965. Below ground, the building contained a bus terminal, a movie theater, and a connection to Grand Central Terminal.

Building's timeline

Construction begins
Construction completed
Declared NL
Added to the NRHP
years ago

Architect and team

Sloan & Robertson 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 Jacques Delamarre.

Sloan & Robertson 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 here is a list of the people we do know also played their part in making the Chanin Building a reality:

  • Rene Paul Chambellan in charge of Interior Design
  • Rene Paul Chambellan, Edward Trumbull as the collaborating Artist

Architectural Style

The Chanin 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 Chanin Building was completed in 1929, right when the Art Deco movement was at its peak, so it kind of went with the trend at that time.

Spaces & Uses

The Chanin Building reaches an architectural height of 650ft (198m), 679ft (207m) if you count the antenna. It has a total of 57 floors, 56 above ground and 1 basements, served by 22 elevators.

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 1929, the Chanin Building has mainly been used as Commercial space.

679ft (207m)
650ft (198m)
1 basements

Materials & Structure

The Chanin Building uses a frame structure made of steel columns and concrete 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 beige bricks and terracotta, the latter being found in the front friezes. Black Belgian marble was used in the base of the facade, around the storefronts, with a bronze frieze above. Limestone can also be seen in some pillars.

Other materials found at the Chanin Building include, bronze, found in the radiator grilles, mailboxes, elevator doors and ornamental reliefs, terrazo, used on the floors, toasted marble, found covering the walls and stairs steps, and floodlights, a battery of 212 lights illuminates the crowning of the tower.