Stainless Steel

What Do the Chrysler Building and The Empire State Building Have in Common?

The Case for Stainless Steel

We at Rocket Steel Buildings have worked with steel all our lives; “but maybe” we thought, “people would like to know how long steel has been used in architectural structures, buildings and homes.”stainless steel sample

Why Steel?

The characteristics of steel in architectural applications and finishes emanate the same loyalty as those that are loyal Apple followers. That’s because steel is a superior product. There are actually many iconic examples of stainless steel architecture that have withstood the test of time; these same buildings also carry a timeless beauty and prestige that is really not considered for steel.

Among the most timeless and oldest of the architectural projects created with steel are the Chrysler building made in 1930, and the Empire State Building, constructed in 1931.

The History

Back in the 30s the use of steel in construction was a new concept, and all angles were explored including the Quonset hut which we covered in a prior blog. So both the Chrysler and the Empire State building were iconic in American history.

To this day both buildings are considered American icons and all because of the steel that was used to build them.

What Makes the Chrysler Building so Interesting?chrysler building

It is a classic embodiment of Art Deco Style. It is this that was the first large stainless steel structure in the world. The buildings ornaments are even fashioned after those on the Chrysler automobile.  For instance, the gargoyles are replicas of the 1929 hood ornaments; the stainless steel arches represent the Chrysler hubcaps.

Why is Stainless Steel so Popular?

Probably the best feature of steel finishes is the minimal maintenance needs of the material. Usually, there is only a need for periodic washing which can often come from wind and rain. In fact, in the 78-years of existence the Chrysler building has only been industrially cleaned twice, and the Empire State building has only been cleaned once.

Since then there have been other fine examples of stainless steel used in construction, like the Petronas Twin Towers, The Neur Zollhof, The Mapfre, The Gateway Arch in St. Louis and the Sun Life Centre in Toronto and many others.

What are the Advantages?

Steel seems to be finding its way in many different architectural and construction forms. It’s now being used in airports and other government structural projects.empire state building

Why Stainless Steel?

Primarily, this material is used because it’s easy to clean and doesn’t stain or corrode, and it’s extremely durable.

Today, stainless steel is used for many different reasons including for its:

  • Aesthetics
  • Visual uniformity
  • Flatness
  • Fire Resistance
  • Cleanability

Stainless Steel is Green

Another major reason for using stainless steel buildings is because this material is green.  That’s because stainless steel is 100% recyclablesteel mill

Bottom Line

Steel works well in architecture and construction; it has a long life cycle, requires little upkeep and can always be recycled. The history of steel in construction goes back to the 1820s and today there are more than 150 grades of stainless steel which is milled into plates, bars, wire and sheets, to be used in the construction of buildings, roofs, storage areas and so much more. If you aren’t an architect the use of steel in construction may have gone past you but look around; take note and you’ll see it used in many different long-lasting architectural applications.


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