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This Building means New York

Agosto 2005
Che effetto fa abitare in cima al Chrysler? L’abbiamo chiesto a due veri inquilini, un architetto e un dentista, i cui studi occupano la “corona” del grattacielo più bello e più simbolico di New York. Che quest’anno ha compiuto 75 anni.

di Lorenza Cerbini

File audio:

The Chrysler Building
The Chrysler Building

Speaker: Chuck Rolando (Standard American accent)

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Chrysler Building, a landmark on the New York skyline. At the time of its opening in 1930, it overtook the Eiffel Tower as the world’s tallest building, only to be overtaken by a New York rival, the Empire State Building, the following year.
The Chrysler Building, which was designed by maverick architect William Van Alen, was also striking for its futuristic structure. In order to find out how it had withstood the test of time, Speak Up went there and met with Frankie J. Campione, whose “Create Architecture Planning & Design” company is based in impressive offices at the top of the tower:

Frankie Campione (Standard American accent):

I think after 75 years the building doesn’t necessarily preserve the idea of speed and excitement, but it preserves the idea of American industry. The building was designed as the headquarters for Chrysler and throughout the building there are images that are prevalent that show inspiration from the automobile industry from the late 1920s and early 1930s. The building remains that same sort of icon that speaks to American industry: not so much speed and excitement, but American industrialism.

An Architectural Folly

But, as Campione explains, not everybody liked the Chrysler Building when it opened:

Frankie J. Campione:

The Chrysler Building was considered ridiculous and discredited when it was first built because it was a folly, it was, by terms we now use, “entertainment architecture.” That is something that’s new to architecture in the past 20 years. Back in the late 20s and early 30s, buildings did not necessarily resemble the industry that they were built for. However, by today’s standards, it was considered very foresightful and ahead of its times.

So Beautiful

The top of this skyscraper also houses the splendid offices of Charles Weiss, a 78-year-old dentist who has no plans to retire. We asked him why New Yorkers were so fond of the Chrysler Building:

Charles Weiss (Standard American accent):

You look at this tower at night when it’s lit up and it’s just so different and so beautiful, it’s like a rocket shooting into the sky but, as much as New Yorkers like it – and it really is the icon building in New York City – all the years, there’s just nothing like it. Overseas, it is New York City. I’ve been to Japan over 62 times, I’ve been all over the world teaching, you know, implant dentistry, every time I pass a travel bureau, in any country, and they’re saying “Go to New York,” there’s a picture of the Chrysler Building. It’s the most famous building around the world: the Chrysler Building means New York to a whole lot of people.

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it overtook - superò.

maverick - indipendente, fuori dagli schemi.

striking - notevole.

how it had withstood the test of time - come aveva resistito al passare del tempo.

headquarters - quartier generale.

foresightful - lungimirante.

ahead of its times - in anticipo sui tempi.

no plans to retire - nessuna intenzione di andare in pensione.

lit up - illuminata.

a rocket shooting into the sky - un razzo che schizza nel cielo.