A groundbreaking skyscraper – Flatiron building

A groundbreaking skyscraper – Flatiron building


Flatiron building is situated at 175 Avenue in the borough of Manhattan, New York and is commonly referred to as Fuller building and a groundbreaking skyscraper. The building was designed by Daniel Burnham from Chicago who fashioned it in beaux-arts style. The architecture of the building symbolizes the conception of Chicago school like a classical Greek column. The building was built as the headquarters of Fullers Construction Company but because of its unusual shape on a triangular plot and its resemblance to a cast iron (clothes iron), it was named ‘Flatiron’.

After its completion, it was counted in one of the tallest buildings in the New York City and was one of the two skyscrapers. It is established on a triangular island-block, located at Fifth Avenue, Broadway and East 22nd street. The district near the building is also referred to as Flatiron district after their signature building. It is an icon for the city and hence labelled as a New York City landmark and also added to the National Register of Historic Places. The construction of the building began in 1902 and as it grew, it became the first true skyscraper of America.

The design


The design of this enduring skyscraper seems like that of the Chicago school, making it the first true manifestation of modern architecture. The building in Chicago was employed for its metal skeleton of cast iron columns and steel grins to support the masonry shell for floors and walls and hence was the archetype of skyscraper design. The twenty storey building having a height of 285 feet was built on a steel frame with non-load bearing masonry, the frontage was such designed that it look like a classical pillar, with ornamented base and ornate scrolling. It was sponsored by a Colorado gold miner named Nathan Fuller. The building is having 24 levels with a mezzanine, attic, a barber shop, a sub-basement, around two hundred offices, six Otis water-hydraulic elevators and two boiler systems which provides warmth to the building. The building is attired in limestone and glazed terra cotta intensifying its heavy and rich aesthetic.

One of the most significant aspects of the Flatiron building is that its architecture highlights the triangular site, as it is forming an acute angle at 5th Broadway and the northern vertex of the building is just 6.5 feet wide, thus forming an interesting spatial configuration within the building and the slanting walls housing the narrow corner offices from where one can enjoy the panoramic views of Midtown Manhattan. The building was such designed in order to accommodate four times the typical wind loads in order to alleviate and retain the buildings quirky triangular shape.


The architecture of this famous triangular skyscraper was designed by the architect, Daniel Burnham in 1902 and completed it till 1903. The building was so significantly unique in the area that it instantly gained popularity as America’s first true skyscraper and its design was then copied many times by other architects to design other buildings and architectures within United States. The building was also the only one built in United States in the middle of urban area, facing the grave of Civil War veteran. The pointed structure of the building creates unusual wind currents at the ground level and so the police officers in 1920 prevented the entry of men to watch the wind, raising the skirts of women who were passing across the 23rd street side. The building was purchased by Harry S. Black, CEO of the Fuller company- a firm specializing in steel and skyscraper construction- for the headquarters of the company and then Mr. Black paid the architect Daniel Burnham for designing the building.

Attractions around the building


Flatiron building is a quirky building charming its tenants with its significantly iconic features. There is a great myth about the building that it is often referred to as a ‘cowcatcher’ by locals, as its triangular shape looks like a flatiron for clothes but paradoxically, the building is not an isosceles triangle like a real flatiron, rather it is a right triangle with its coercing shape on which it was built.

But there are many other amazing places to visit around the building and Madison Square Park is one of them. This grassy playground is a happy escape from the busy midtown area and with the availability of free Wi-Fi, people can be connected to the internet too. The artwork done on the grounds of park is sure to thrill those with a love and charm for art and also the blend of temporary exhibits by artists are also enjoyed by people.

Another one of the most amazing and visited place near this building is Brooklyn bridge, connecting Manhattan with Brooklyn. The building is also dubbed as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”.

Also, there is a great memorial nearby the building called, 9/11 memorial which was made in the remembrance of the martyrs who perished in terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. The place has two massive pools with 30 foot waterfalls coming down their sides. There are almost 3000 names of men, women and children who were killed in the attack, caricatured in the bronze parapets surrounding the twin memorial pools.

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