General Electric Building

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

The General Electric Building is an Art-deco skyscraper designed by Cross & Cross and built between 1929 and 1931 in New York, NY.

General Electric Building is not the only name you might know this building by though. The building is, or has also been known as 570 Lexington Avenue Building.

Its precise street address is 570 de Lexington Avenue, New York, NY. You can also find it on the map here.

The General Electric 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 General Electric Building was officially declared as a national landmark on July 9th 1985, and was included in the National Register of Historic Places on January 28th 2004.

Building's timeline

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

Architect and team

Cross & Cross was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design.

Cross & Cross was 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 General Electric Building a reality:

  • McClintic-Marshall Construction Company as the Main Contractor
  • Victor Talking Machine Company- RCA Victor as the Main Developer

Architectural Style

The General Electric 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 General Electric Building was completed in 1931, right when the Art Deco movement was at its peak, so it kind of went with the trend at that time.

Spaces & Uses

The General Electric Building reaches an architectural height of 643ft (196m). It has a total of 50 floors, served by 11 elevators.

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 1931, the General Electric Building has mainly been used as Commercial space.

643ft (196m)

Materials & Structure

The General Electric 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 bricks in orange and beige tones combined with terracotta ornaments in similar colors. Some limestone and figures made of silver metal can also be seen at certain points. The reddish marble only appears at the bottom of the facade and in some moldings on the upper floors.