In a change from our regular scheduled posts, I am sharing some upcoming programs where I will be speaking about Mid-Century Mundane and Queens Modern. If you are interested, I hope you’ll join me!
DOCOMOMO US National Symposium 2015: Modernism on the Prairie
June 4-7, 2015
Information on the Mid-Century Mundane presentation is here.
Loyola School is a small, private Jesuit-led high school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The main school building is on the corner of Park Avenue and East 83rd Street. But further down the block on 83rd is a complex of buildings that Loyola built in a mid-century expansion. They all date from 1953-54. The first is the gymnasium, followed by the rectory, and additional housing.
All the buildings are clad in buff brick and exhibit almost no exterior detailing. The gymnasium includes a flat aluminum entrance canopy and polished granite columns. The metal-framed International-style windows above the entrance look to be original.
Next door is the faculty house which includes a simple granite door surround and metal type.The final building is a residential extension built in 1954. The open space between the rectory and additional is fronted at the street by a tall brick wall topped with metal security posts.
Well-known mid-century architects Eggers and Higgins designed the whole 83rd Street complex. The firm was familiar in working for Catholic organizations, having completed two Manhattan churches in the 1940s and continuing their work designing Catholic-affiliated churches, rectories, schools, and nursing homes until the late 1960s. The firm has previously been covered on Mid-Century Mundane here, here, and here.
Located at Clark University in Worcester is the Kneller Athletic Center from 1976. The swooping roofline and pebble aggregate exterior immediately looked familiar. That’s because the firm of Daniel F. Tully Associates was responsible for its design and construction.
Tully, both an engineer and architect, has long been a leader in construction of athletic facilities for schools, colleges, and universities across the US. Many of his buildings are recognizable due to their unique designs especially parabolic roofs such as the one at the Kneller Center. The similarities to Brooklyn’s Activities Resource Center were immediately apparent, but a take on this design can also be seen at Amherst College, Fairleigh Dickinson, and Boston College to name just a few.
Wurts Bros., 38 Bleecker Street. St. Barnabas Home, birds-eye view. From the Collections of the Museum of the City of New York. http://bit.ly/1GeVFwR
Mundane Mondays is back! Today’s entry comes from reader Kerri C. who laments the loss of 304 Mulberry Street, the former St. Barnabas Home. Built by the New York Protestant Episcopal City Mission Society in 1947, the building was designed by little known architect H. M. Cole. He also did small commercial stores, restaurants, and warehouses around the city, almost all of which have vanished.
Wurts Bros. 38 Bleecker Street. St. Barnabas Home, Mulberry Street front. From the Collections of the Museum of the City of New York.
Originally showing a strong International influence with horizontal window bands on each floor and a rooftop setback with prominent overhang. Over the past decades the building has been heavily modified to remove most of its modernist touches (recent images below). And recently demolition plans have been announced. Let’s take a last look at what was once a nicely contributing building.
The main branch of the Worcester Public Library is a long formal building with an odd orientation and location. It is situated behind City Hall at the intersection of Library Lane and the one-block long Salem Street; the main entrance faces a large parking lot.
The style is reminiscent of Edward Durell Stone with regularly spaced thin columns and a flat classical roofline. The entrance pavilion has been altered over the years but on one side, the arcade running along the exterior and holding up the second floor can be seen.
The architects were actually the New York office of Curtis and Davis, the prominent New Orleans-based firm that existed from 1947-1978. The project was announced in 1959 and completed in 1964. The building was renovated in the 200os and the original rough finish on the exterior concrete was eliminated, heightening the formality of the design.
There is also a newer addition of orange and tan stone at one end of the library (the edge of which can be seen in the photo above).
There is always something new to see in Lower Manhattan, especially with the constant construction. I recently “discovered” 100 Trinity Place, now the High School of Economics and Finance. But looking closely, the shadow of the building’s previous owner, NYU, is still visible on the facade.
This was built as NYU’s Graduate School of Business Administration and opened on January 27, 1960, according to The New York Times. It was designed by the prolific firm of Skidmore Owings & Merrill. Previously the graduate school had been next door at 90 Trinity in an 1870s, four-story building that was originally the Trinity School. Just a year after completing the 100 Trinity Place building, NYU noted that they wanted to replace 90 Trinity as well. And by 1969, a new 14 story building also designed by SOM and specifically architect Roy Allen, was in the works. It opened in the early 1970s in a stripped-down corporate style.
100 Trinity is a relatively unrelieved design with few windows and a flat gray brick cladding. The street wall is enlivened by a yellow brick wall at street level topped by clerestory windows.
This church was built by local Hudson Valley architect William van Benschoten. According to The New York Times, van Benschoten died on April 1, 1968 so this church precedes that date, although it is unclear by how long. The architect consulted for the New York Episcopal Diocese and has at least one other extant church to his credit, as well as several modern houses in the region. Christ the King is one of his most contemporary and spartan designs, with no exterior decoration of note.