While there are many unique buildings in New York, one that will not escape your attention is the Flatiron Building. It’s not a surprise that it has been an iconic building for over a century now.
Thanks to its age, shape, and pioneering architectural and engineering design, it will remain to be one of the greatest landmarks in New York City. In this article, we are going to look at the history and Influence of the Flatiron Building.
Design and Construction of the Flatiron Building
The history of the Flatiron Building began when Harry S. Black bought a plot to build a headquarters for his firm on the intersection of Fifth Avenue, 23rd Street, and Broadway Avenue.
The plot was considered to be among the most valuable in New York City due to its prime position. However, it presented a challenge to developers due to its rectangular shape.
To develop his newly acquired plot, Black hired Daniel Burnham, an architect who was well known for his innovative designs such as the National Mall in Washington D.C., and the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
It was important that he enlisted the help of a top-notch architect, because not only was this going to be the first skyscraper, on the Northern side of Union Square, New York, but also because a structural design of the day wasn’t going to be sufficient.
In the early 1900s, most tall buildings were made of stone, which meant the ground floor’s walls had to be thick enough to support the upper floors. That wasn’t a practical solution for a small plot where thick walls would mean that there was hardly any space left on the ground floor.
Burnham solved that problem by doing away with the stonewall design, and instead came up with an ingenious design. He designed the building to have a structure of steel columns and beams. He would then hang a wall of stone around it, like a curtain, to protect it from weather elements.
Importance of the New Design
The use of steel in the structural design of the building meant that the walls no longer had to bear the weight of a building. Therefore, they could be made of anything that could protect the building from weather elements and still give it a beautiful look.
Glass happened to be one of the favored materials because it allowed in more light, but stopped wind and rain from getting into the building. In that regard, the Flatiron Building’s design opened the doors to the modern concrete and glass buildings that dot our skylines.
The Flatiron Building immediately captured the attention of New Yorkers and they started to include it in postcards. It didn’t take long before artists started including the Flatiron Building in their photos and paintings.
Some of the notable artists who included them in their photos and paintings are Alfred Stieglitz and John Sloan. The Flatiron Building became a NYC landmark in 1966, and in 1989, it was declared a National Historic Landmark.
It became a luxury Hotel in 2019 when the last tenant’s lease expired. The change of use from an office building to a Hotel, came about after an Italian real Estate Investment group, Sorgente Group, bought a controlling stake in 2009.
We hope that you enjoyed this article, and you will have a great time the next time you visit this historic building.