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My favourite building: Chrysler Building.

Aecom's Mark Prior admires the pioneering spirit that created New York's Chrysler Building

With all of the major high rise buildings completed over the last decade, and those planned for the next, it is easy for one to forget our past. Few buildings embody mankind's desire to push the boundaries of science in construction more than the Chrysler Building in New York City, USA.

Bold in both its ambition and engineering the Chrysler building was constructed in just 20 months, and became the world's tallest building in 1930, albeit for 11 months until the Empire State building was completed. It is to this day the tallest 'brick' building in the world.

The iconic Art Deco design features, including the stunning crown of the building - concealed within the structure for much of the construction to keep secret the final height - embody the ambitions of the owner, Walter P. Chrysler.

Under Chrysler's guidance, the architect William Van Alen added decorative features inspired by Chrysler's automobile designs, including stainless steel eagle head hood ornaments, Chrysler radiator caps and even racing cars on the 31st floor.

For me it's a building that signifies man's adventure in terms of ambition and its fight against adversity.

The boldness of the structure and the simplicity of facades personify New York and its people, even after 80 years. The fact that the building was being developed during the worst economic depression the world had experienced makes it all the more remarkable.

Wherever you stand, looking up you will see the features of the crown radiating in the Manhattan skyline.

Each time I visit, I still marvel at its simplistic beauty - one of the truly charismatic buildings of the 20th Century."

Mark Prior

Aecom EMEA managing director, cost consultancy.

Mark Prior is the EMEA managing director for programme cost consultancy for Aecom, a global provider of professional, technical and management support services to a range of markets including architecture, transportation and water.

Appointed in May 2013 and based in the UAE, he is responsible for growing AECOM's programme cost consultancy business in the region. Current projects being conducted under his guidance include Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and the expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport. This is his second posting in the region, having spent six years here a decade ago.

He is a trained engineer, qualified chartered surveyor and member of the Association of Project Managers with over 30 years' experience of managing consultancy businesses in commercial property and transportation.

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Publication:Construction Week
Date:Sep 26, 2013
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