Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Flatiron Building is a 21-story skyscraper located in Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA.

Finished in 1902, the building draws its name from the triangular plot on which it stands -- which people thought looked like an iron. It was developed by The Fuller Company, a real estate construction firm that was one of the first general contractors in the United States. It was designed by legendary architect Daniel Burnham in a style known as the Chicago School: It had a small (rather than big and blocky) first floor (clad in limestone), a repetitive tall center section (clad in terra cotta), and a top floor that was exquisitely detailed. Burnham's associate, the designer Frederick P. Dinkelberg, executed the details of the building. The ground floor is in the Beaux-Arts style, with the vast vertical section in Renaissance Revival (and intended to look like a vertical Renaissance palazzo). The two upper stories which form the "capital" of the building are in the Art Nouveax style. An oval inset encompasses a single window on the 20th and 21st stories. Between each inset is a bas-relief pilaster (fake column) decorated with masks, medallions, escutheons, swags, and fruit.

The structure is only six feet wide on its narrowest end. The "cowcatcher" space at the front of the building was added after it was finished, and was not part of Burnham's plan. A 21st story was added a few years later, and served as artists' lofts.

A groundbreaking skyscraper, the Flatiron Building was the tallest building in New York City and one of only two skyscrapers north of 14th Street.

The Flatiron Building was designated a New York City landmark in 1966, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989.

After the Fuller Company vacated the Flatiron Building in the 1930s, it largely sat empty. Its few tenants were skeezy little firms. A major renaissance for the structure occurred in the 1990s, after it began to regain popularity for its unique design. Since 2009, the structure has been owned by Sorgente Group S.p.A., an Italian company which wants to turn it into a boutique hotel. That will occur about 2020, as the last of the existing tenants lose their leases.

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