5 Greatest Buildings of America

This 4th of July we celebrate the 243rd birthday of the USA just as we always do: with burgers, beer (celebrate responsibly!), hot dogs, and a whole lot of fireworks. As we reflect upon our history, it’s important to acknowledge one of the greatest contributions to our culture and history- our buildings! Our iconic buildings tell a story of the history of construction in our country.

These are some of the most iconic buildings in the United States:

1. Chrysler Building 

Once the tallest building in the world when it was built in 1930, this New York City building is known for its emblematic Art Deco style. Design started in 1927 with developer William Reynolds, but having run out of money once construction began, he sold it to the Chrysler family. In a way, it was fortunate because Reynold’s design was much more conservative and may not have achieved the signature look that gives it its reputation today.



2. One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower) 

One World Trade, stretching 1776 feet from the floor of lower Manhattan in New York, is the sixth tallest building in the world. It was completed in 2014 amid both fanfare and controversy after a decade of stalled planning. As a symbol of recovery after the 9/11 attacks, the planning process was exceptionally public, and therefore complex. Regardless, the striking building represents the determination of a country seeking to put a traumatic event behind it.



3. Griffith Observatory 

What makes Griffith Observatory in L.A. so special is not just that it has been the backdrop to so many movies and T.V. shows since it was built in 1935, but the sheer audacity of having a planetarium right in the middle of such an urban area. It is both a park and a place for the public to learn about astronomy, and highlights the importance not just of construction, but of the importance of public space in urban design.



4. Trinity Church 

While the history of the Trinity Church as a congregation goes back to 1734, the current building, standing in Copley Plaza in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood, was finished in 1877. It was designed by Henry Hobson Richardson, whose architecture can be found all around the country, and who is credited with inventing the Richardsonian Romanesque style. An interesting aspect of this building is how it is nestled among far more modern buildings like the John Hancock Tower, creating a picturesque juxtaposition that few cities can match.



5. Fisher Building 

The Fisher Building in Detroit is a remarkable example of the Art Deco style of the time, being built in 1928. The building was made possible by the growth of a second downtown for Detroit because of high prices in the original downtown. The interior includes so many Art Deco details that it’s not possible to include in a short description.



Many buildings in the USA reflect the history of the city they are built in and of trends in the country. Construction is an integral part of the historical landscape, no matter the scale. This 4th of July we celebrate the birth of a nation and also think about construction’s role in broadcasting our greatness to the world.