In a return to reader-submitted entries for Mundane Mondays, we have the New York State Insurance Fund Building from 1955. And with its red and green entrance scheme, it is fitting that we choose this entry as our last for the year.
This large International Style office building is differentiated from other more banal designs by several decorative elements. One is the horizontal steel grills above the window bands. I’m not sure if these serve a purpose or are purely for design.
The second is obviously the eye-catching main entrance. This area incorporates a swooping canopy with metal lettering, two flagpoles, red granite columns, and a terrazzo floor with a circle abstract pattern. There is a figurative sculpture grouping by C. P. Jennewein to the left of the entrance doors.
In addition, an intriguing detail is the white figural grouping on the corner of the facade at Duane Street and Trimble Place by sculptor Oronzio Maldarelli. This placement on the edge of a secondary facade is puzzling. The rear of the building is red brick instead of white.
From reader David L., who submitted this building for inclusion: The architect was Lorimer Rich — who apparently got his start at the McKim Mead and White firm, and is best known for the neo-classical tomb of the unknown soldier in Arlington, which dates back to the Depression. Per Wikipedia, he further benefited from the New Deal federal building boom through engagements to build a number of post-offices during the 30s, which ranged from neo-colonial affairs to the really beautiful deco Madison Square post office and the more clearly modernist Forest Hills post office, which looks to have presaged the Insurance Fund building — including through the incorporation of sculpture into the facade.
Thanks to David L. for his information and thanks to all our readers this year. See you in 2014!