Top 10 Famous Art Deco Buildings

The first Art Deco buildings in history were two apartment buildings in Paris that were constructed between 1903 and 1904.

They were defined by clean lines, rectangular forms, and the lack of decorations on the exterior. This was a clear move away from the remarkably decorated Art Nouveau Buildings that became popular during the 1890s.

It wasn’t until after World War I that more buildings with a similar design started to appear in Europe, the United States, and eventually the entire world in the 1920s and 1930s.

The style became so popular that even large engineering projects started integrating Art Deco features into their works, including the Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam to name a few of the most remarkable examples.

In this article, you’ll discover some of the most famous Art Deco buildings ever constructed, an architectural style that was eventually replaced by the International Style and modern architecture.

1. Chrysler Building – New York City

The Chrysler Building is one of the most iconic skyscrapers in New York City and has dominated the New York skyline since it was completed in 1930. It was briefly the tallest building in the world at the time with a height of 319 meters (1,046 feet).

The building wasn’t received well by all critics upon completion but it’s considered to be one of the most famous Art Deco buildings in the world today. It was added to the register of National Historic Landmarks in 1976 and became a New York City landmark in 1978.

Famous Art Deco Buildings Chrysler Building
Chrysler Building / Rolf Obermaier / Wiki Commons

2. Griffith Observatory – Los Angeles

The Griffith Observatory is the centerpiece of Griffith Park, a large urban park in Los Angeles. It’s located don’t the southern slope of Mount Hollywood which means that it provides amazing views of The Hollywood Sign and many of the most famous buildings in LA.

The building was constructed between 1933 and 1935 and incorporates classical elements, especially Greek, in its distinctive Art Deco design. The building was completely renovated in the early 21st century but retained its Art Deco exterior.

Griffith Observatory Art Deco architecture
Griffith Observatory / Josh Hallett / Wiki Commons

3. Empire State Building – New York City

The Empire State Building isn’t just one of the most famous buildings in NYC, it’s also one of the best-known skyscrapers in the world. The building was completed 11 months after the Chrysler Building and took over the record as the tallest building in the world with a height of 443.2 meters (1,454 feet).

It’s one of the most popular Art Deco Buildings in the world as well because its observation deck is visited by millions of people every year. These decks are located on the 82ns, 86th, and 102nd floors of this iconic building in the New York City skyline.

Empire State Building Art Deco
Empire State Building / Wiki Commons

4. Daily Express Building – Manchester

The Daily Express Building in Manchester is one of the 3 similar Art Deco buildings located in the United Kingdom that serve as the headquarters of the Daily Express newspaper. The other two buildings are located in London and Glasgow and have a similar Art Deco design.

The structure was completed in 1939 and incorporates a futuristic version of Art Deco referred to as Streamline Moderne. This style is defined by horizontal lines and curved corners. It’s considered to be the most popular of the 3 Daly Express Buildings and it became a Grade II listed building in 1974.

Daily Express Building Manchester
Daily Express Building in Manchester / David Dixon / Wiki Commons

5. Los Angeles City Hall – Los Angeles

Los Angeles City Hall is the main building of the government of Los Angeles and is one of the city’s most fascinating landmarks. It’s located in the Civic Center, an area of downtown Los Angeles full of administrative buildings, and stands 138 meters (454 feet) tall.

The base of the building was based on the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World. The tower on top of the building features a distinctive Art Deco design. The building underwent a $135 million renovation between 1998 and 201 and is now the tallest base-isolated building in the world.

Los Angeles City Hall
Los Angeles City Hall / Craig Baker / Wiki Commons

6. National Diet Building – Tokyo

The National Diet Building is proof that Art Deco architecture spread all across the world. Even one of the most important buildings in Tokyo incorporated this style into its design. This building is the Japanese equivalent of the Houses of Parliament in London.

The left section of the building is used for meetings of the House of Representatives and the right section for those of the House of Councillors. The building was completed in 1936 and has been one of the most intriguing buildings in Japan ever since.

National Diet Building Art Deco Japan
National Diet Building / Wiiii / Wiki Commons

7. 30 Rockefeller Plaza – New York City

30 Rockefeller Plaza is the centerpiece of the huge Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan. It stands 260 meters (850 feet) tall and was one of the first Art Deco skyscrapers of the complex to be completed in the year 1933.

Rockefeller Center is a remarkable complex because it’s one of the only huge construction projects in the United States that was completed during the Great Depression. Both the Chrysler Building and Empire State Building were completed earlier. It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.

30 Rockefeller Center
30 Rockefeller Center / Wiki Commons

8. Fisher Building – Detroit

The Fisher Building is a famous landmark in the New Center district of Detroit, Michigan. It was completed in 1928 and is one of the most iconic Art Deco buildings in the United States outside of New York City due to its remarkable architectural design.

The building is home to the Fisher Theater, an entertainment venue with 2,089 seats. The building is also home to the Detroit Public Schools headquarters and multiple radio stations are based here as well, including WJR, WDVD, and WDRQ.

Fisher Building Detroit Art Deco Architecture
Fisher Building in Detroit / Andre Carrotflower / Wiki Commons

9. Palais de Tokyo – Paris

The Palais de Tokyo is a famous building in Paris that was constructed for the “International Exposition of Art and Technology in Modern Life” in 1937. It’s located in the 16th arrondissement of the city, not too far away from the Eiffel Tower.

The Art Deco structure features two wings. The eastern wing is home to the “Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris” or “Paris’ Museum of Modern Art.” The opposite wing is called the “Palais de Tokyo / Site de création contemporaine,” the largest art gallery dedicated to contemporary art in France.

Palais de Tokyo Paris

10. Basilica of the Sacred Heart – Brussels

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart is an amazing building in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, and a famous church that was designed in the Art Deco style. The first stone of this huge building was laid in 1905 but both World Wars halted its construction. The immense church was only completed in 1970.

The church is dominated by the enormous green copper dome that dominated the western part of the city’s skyline. This remarkable dome reaches a height of 89 meters (292 feet) above the ground. With a length of 164.5 meters (540 feet) and a width of 107 meters (351 feet), it’s also one of the largest Art Deco buildings in the world.

Basilica of the Sacred Heart Brussels
Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Brussels / Niels Mickers / Wiki Commons