New York’s Two “Fuller Buildings”

There are two Fuller Buildings in New York and though they share the same name, they have their own iconic appearances. The buildings have an interesting story behind their identical naming and it goes back to the beginning of the 20th century.

Flatiron Building (The Original Fuller Building)

Flatiron is surely one of the most iconic buildings in the world. It is nearly 90 meters tall and a landmark of Manhattan. The building takes its name from its unique shape which looks like a clothing iron. However, initially, the company that built it thought of a different name for the building.

flatiron the original of the two fuller buildings

In the year 1901, the Fuller Company bought the building that stood in the place of today’s Flatiron. They hired the architect Daniel Burnham and wanted him to make a headquarters for the company. The construction took a year and in 1902 the building was unveiled.

flatiron side exterior
New York City

However, the founder of the Fuller Company, George Fuller, died before he could see the headquarters he wanted. Therefore, the board of the company decided to name the building “the Fuller Building” in his honor. In a way, the Flatiron was the original Fuller of the two Fuller Buildings. Much to the dismay of the board, the name did not stick.

flatiron close up

Although for a few years, the name stayed as Fuller, people kept calling the building Flatiron and even the architect’s design papers had the same title too. Therefore, the board decided to officially change the name to the Flatiron Building. Only 27 years later, the Fuller company moved out of the Flatiron.

the original of the two fuller buildings from above
New York City

Fuller Building

Two decades after the construction of the Flatiron, the businesses in Manhattan started to move to Midtown. Following this trend, the Fuller Company left as well. They sold the Flatiron to a syndicate and made their way to Madison Avenue.

the newer one of the two fuller buildings

In 1929, their new headquarters were finished and the company could finally name it the Fuller Building. In other words, in just 30 years, New York had two Fuller buildings, both of them built by the same company.

the entrance of fuller building
Peter Clericuzio

The new Fuller Building was one of the best examples of the Art Deco style which was quite popular in the 20s and 30s, especially in America. Due to this artistic aspect, the building was not just a place of business but it became a location for cultural gatherings. For several years, the new Fuller Building was part of the Midtown artistic hub, housing many exhibitions, galleries, and such.

the mosaic at the entrance of the newer one of the two fuller buildings
Billie Elias

Moreover, the company did not really want another Fuller-Flatiron situation. They tried to make it as clear as possible that this building was named the Fuller Building. In both entrances, there are huge name tags and at the entrance floor, there is a mosaic that tells people the name and date of the building.

fuller building exterior
Virginia Marino