Contemporary Architecture


The Legend

  • One of the New York’s most famous Buildings
  • This Landmark building has moved and generated Utmost public opinion and interest.
  • The first building to become a romantic symbol of New York.
  • Buildings tend to achieve temporary Monumentalism.

Quick facts


  • Street 175 5th Avenue and Broadway
  • Postcode 10010
  • Zone Ladies Mile
  • Neighborhood Flatiron
  • Borough Manhattan
  • City New York City
  • Country U.S.A.


  • Height 87 m 285 ft
  • Floors (OG) 21
  • Year (end) 1902

Daniel Hudson Burnham, (1846-1912)

  • Born in Henderson, New York
  •  He established (1873) a partnership with John W. Root
Famous Works:
  • Monadnock Building
  • Masonic Temple
  • Reliance Building
  • Rookery” offices
  • Wanamaker store in New York
  • World,s Columbian Exposition

Unique features of Flatiron Building?

  • Landmark.
  • Type of Construction.
  • The first kind of qualified Skyscraper.
  • Its unique shape.
  • Kind of Architecture.
  • Public Opinion and its role.


On the Left is Broadway and on the right is the 5th Avenue

What it takes to be a landmark

  • Location.
  • Public Interest.
  • Uniqueness and quality of Architecture.
  • The image generated by a building

Type of Construction:

  • Structural steel works — 3,680 tons of it
  • Steel Column and clear office floor space type construction
  • Bent steel frames used for the first time for support


  • distinctive shape adopted by Burnham
  • The wind tunnel effect
  • The site itself was triangular. A need based design by Burnham.

Type of Architecture

  • Style: beaux arts
  • Burnham Baroque: This style was developed by Burnham and used this in Reliance building which he built after the death of Root.
Beaux Arts
  • Nested Motifs-close up view
  • Front corner-close up view
  • Named after the Êcole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, this style is a subset of neo-classicism with several refinements
Features of Beaux arts:
  • tall parapets
  • paired columns
  • balustrades
  • domes, projecting façades, and pavilions.
  • The rich decoration may include garlands, wreaths, cartouches, and human statuary.
  • nested forms

Imitation of  Greek

  • The Flatiron building, carries distinctive mark of Burnham’s style of using Greco-Roman motifs, that he so volubly practiced after Root’s Death

23 Skidoo

  • Wind tunnel effect causing skirts of ladies to blow over their ankles

What made Flatiron an icon and a monument of its time?

  • Interestingly the form was feminine and very graceful, capturing mind of artists, photographers, painters,writers and film directors.
  • Romantic symbol of the time

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Contemporary Architecture

Skyscrapers in New York contemporary to The Chicago School

The Park Row Building, Robert H. Robertson, 1896-1899:

  • The main facade, clad in limestone, has its center part recessed, more prominently at the top six floors of the mass, and horizontally divided as the rows of pilasters between windows terminate at ornamental ledges at intervals.
  • The building is topped by twin 4-storey turrets, originally functioning as observatories and office space, whose domes are topped further by smaller, copper-clad lanterns with caryatids

Flatiron Building, Daniel Burnham, 1902:

  • A commercial office towers with a steel frame structure.
  • Radical use of a triangular plan form in a high rise building for the first time.
  • Façade was decorated with a series of arched openings.
  • The building is Italian Renaissance style and features tripartite construction.
  • Tripartite buildings are based on a Greek column with three distinct portions that resemble the base, shaft and capital.
  • The top capital portion features arches that are topped by an ornate cornice.
  • The middle portion is shaft-like.
  • The wide windows and limestone characterize the base portion.

The Municipal Building, McKim, Mead & White , 1909-1915:

  • The building was influenced by the fashionable “City Beautiful” movement of the 1890s which promoted plans for creating public buildings in landscaped parks.
  • The mid-part of the 25-storey tripartite facade is a U-shaped mass of austere light-toned granite over a high colonnade that forms the building’s base and separates a front yard from the sidewalk.
  • The top portion of the building features a colonnade of Corinthian columns and pilasters.
  • The 16-storey top, above the middle section of the building, consists of a set-back tiered lantern on top of a square base, flanked by four smaller pinnacle turrets.
  • At the height of 177 m stands the 6 m high statue Civic Fame by Adolph A. Weinman, New York City’s second largest statue after the Statue of Liberty.

Woolworth Building, Cass Gilbert, 1910 – 1913:

  • A 60 storey tower capped with an elaborately ornamented set-back Gothic top.
  • Rising from a 27-storey base, with limestone and granite lower floors, the tower is clad in white terra-cotta with the spire rising to the height of 241.5 m.
  • It was to be the tallest building in the world for 17 years.

The Equitable Building, Ernest R. Graham & Associates, 1912-1915 .

  • Built for Equitable Life Insurance, the building is forty-one stories high with no setbacks.
  • The Equitable Building is most important for the zoning law that resulted from its construction.
  • After this building was completed, the public complained about the little amount of light that reached the street, causing the city to feel dark and gloomy.
  • ~These complaints caused the passage of the city’s first zoning ordinance in 1916 that required buildings to be step-backed.

Chrysler Building, William Van Allen, 1928 to 1930:

  • One of the first uses of stainless steel over a   large exposed building surface.
  • Automobile-derived ornamental details.
  • Stainless steel metal ornamented top.

McGraw Hill Building, Raymond Hood, 1930:

  • Construction system used is terra cotta and glass cladding over steel frame.
  • Unusual and attractive use of substantial color on the exterior of a significant skyscraper.

Empire State Building by Shreve, Lamb, Harmon, 1931:

  • A building of 102 floors which is 381 meters high.
  • Effective use of setbacks to emphasize tower.
  • The mooring tower with modern encrustations.
  • Well placed lighting has been used to visually enhance the building after sunset.

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