St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Smithtown, NY

Built in 1966, St. Andrew’s Lutheran is a modest structure, topped with a six-sided cupola that brings light in through blue and white colored glass.


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Temple Emanu-El, East Meadow, NY

Unfortunately, this post is to celebrate a unique modern synagogue that is imminently destined for the wrecking ball. Designed by the underrated Davis, Brody, and Wisnieski, the oval sanctuary is sited at one end of the complex with a connector through administrative spaces and ending in the educational wing.

The sanctuary walls are faced in brightly colored glass or plastic tiles that cause the interior to glow. Other details including wooden pews and decoration typical of the period and a striking ceiling pattern.

The loss of Emanu-El, whose shrinking congregation has merged with another nearby, mirrors the closure of other synagogues in Eastern Queens and Long Island as demographics shift and populations age.


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Medical Arts Building, Havre de Grace, MD

This is a rare modern building in this area of Maryland and even more unusual, designed by an immigrant female architect who brought Corbusian principles to her work. Poldi Hirsch based her practice in this small town and designed several buildings over her career, most notably her own family residence and this office building for her husband’s medical practice. Both remain today.

The building is nestled among a district of primarily Victorian style mansions and stands out for its completely modern style. The design uses colorful paneling, cinder block construction with brick facing, and a swooping entrance canopy. While there seems to be deferred maintenance on the building, it’s still in use and hopefully is appreciated for its uniqueness.

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Check out Queens Modern: The Architects!

If you’ve been following this website, you’ve probably noticed it’s not updated much these days. Part of the reason for that is that we’ve been busy with another of our projects, Queens Modern. Through the support of the James Marston Fitch Foundation, a new section of the Queens Modern site has been completed, which examines two dozen architectural firms that were active in the mid-century. Head over to and check it out! More Mid-Century Mundane content to come later.

Thanks for reading!



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Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Anna Maria Island, FL

Today’s entry is not so mundane, but when a longtime reader sends photos your way of a building like this, you post them. Thanks to David L. for the images.

Architect Victor Lundy is famed for his designs, many in Florida as part of the Sarasota School, but examples exist all over the world. He was particularly proficient in church design and here we have Gloria Dei, a wood frame structure with a soaring central steeple. Many of his church designs feature unusual roofs and this is no exception.


The church is on Anna Maria Island off the coast of Sarasota. The main feature is laminated beams which bear the weight of the roof. These beams were recently fumigated as they had attracted termites over the years. Here’s to another 50 years for Gloria Dei.



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Poughkeepsie Synagogues

Bounded by the same block on either side of the Hudson Valley Community Center sit two mid-century synagogues.

Temple Beth-El is a conservative congregation along S. Grand Avenue. The complex sits back from the street behind a parking lot and winding drive to a flat-roofed porte-cochere at the entrance. The structure is faced in red brick with a decorative window and panels fronting the sanctuary toward the street.


















Schrome Israel sits close the street on Park Avenue. It is an Orthodox congregation that has had many homes; this one dates from 1968 and is of a severe design. The most prominent feature is an undulating wall of bright blue brick alongside Park Avenue topped by a flat projecting roofline supported by square pillars in dark brick. The rest of the structure seems fairly utilitarian but this pop of color brings visual interest to the modest building.



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Sherwin Williams Contractor Service Center, Philadelphia, PA


Just down the street from Robert Venturi’s famed Guild House is this one story Miesian office building at 827 Spring Garden Street. It was built in 1965.

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