The Flatiron, a 109 years old magnificent building standing at the cross-paths of Fifth ave and Broadway in the heart of Manhattan island, New York City. Sometimes mistakingly thought to have held the title of the tallest building in the world once, but it never did. Although upon completion in 1902, it was the highest standing steel structure of its time. With its triangular geometry and steel skeleton, critics vowed it would never withstand its location, described as “a very windy corner for a building that is both slim and high (at the pointy tip of the triangle the room’s width is only 2 meters). At 96 meters (308 ft) high and 22 floors, the 3700 ton steel structure was a huge success. The name Flatiron was derived from a “flat-iron” due to its shape.
Designer D.H Burnham of Chicago, Illinois used limestone cladding for the lower floors and white terra-cotta cladding for higher ones with Lion heads, Greek faces, fleur de lis and enveloping geometric designs engraving the facade, giving it an Italian Renaissance architecture feel of Beaux Arts. The unique location and evolutionary design resulted in the creation of a landmark that was iconic to New York City for decades to follow. The success of the Flatiron initiated a new era of steel structure buildings and expansions throughout the city.
Today, the Flatiron Building is a popular spot for tourists photographs and is frequently used on television commercials, documentaries and films as an easily recognizable symbol of New York City. It is also a functioning office building which is currently the headquarters of various publishing companies. Although in January 2009, an Italian real estate investment firm bought a majority stake in the Flatiron Building, estimating the 22-story building to worth around $190 million, with plans to turn it into a world-class luxury hotel, although the conversion may have to wait ten years until the leases of the current tenants run out.
Hotel, office building, or whatever it can function as, The Flatiron will always remain one of New York’s most classical landmarks.