Graybar Building

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

The Graybar Building is an Art-deco skyscraper designed by Sloan & Robertson and built between 1925 and 1927 in New York, NY.

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

Its precise street address is 420 Lexington Ave, New York, NY. You can also find it on the map here.

The Graybar 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 Graybar Building was officially declared as a national landmark on November 22nd 2016.

The building underwent a major restoration between 1998 and 1999. The architect commissioned to undertake this restoration was Beyer Blinder Belle.

Building's timeline

Construction begins
Construction completed
Declared NL
years ago
  1. 1998 to 1999 - Lobby renovation, ceilings, floors, elevators, hallways, windows and bathrooms. The architect in charge was Beyer Blinder Belle.

Architect and team

Sloan & Robertson was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design.

Sloan & Robertson 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 Graybar Building a reality:

  • Clyde R. Place in charge of Structural Engineering
  • Graybar as the Main Developer
  • Edward Trumbull as the collaborating Artist

Architectural Style

The Graybar 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 Graybar Building was completed in 1927, right when the Art Deco movement was at its peak, so it kind of went with the trend at that time.

Spaces & Uses

The Graybar Building reaches an architectural height of 351ft (107m). It has a total of 30 floors, served by 32 elevators. In total, it has a built-up area of 1,500,003 sqf (139,355m2) offering 1,345,488 sqf (125,000m2) of usable space.

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 1927, the Graybar Building has mainly been used as Commercial space.

351ft (107m)

Materials & Structure

The Graybar 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 an Indiana limestone panels cladding on its base, with black bricks in the spandrels of some windows.

Other materials found at the Graybar Building include, travertine, used in walls and arches of the Graybar Passage, bronze, found in chandeliers and ornaments , and lead, a sheet of lead was embedded within the concrete foundations to absorb vibrations.