The partnership of Samuel Paul (1912-2002) and Seymour Jarmul (1920-1994) dates to 1948 when Jarmul joined the firm as a job captain; he subsequently became junior partner in 1953 . Paul had been a sole practitioner since 1944, designing modest apartment houses, and before that working as a draftsman for a variety of firms, including Skidmore Owings & Merrill . A graduate of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Paul may have met or employed Jarmul due to the MIT connection, which Jarmul attended from 1945-47 .
As a partnership the firm focused almost exclusively on one type of work, the mid-size residential apartment building. According to Jarmul’s daughter Ruth, Paul was the business partner, bringing in new commissions. (4) Work steadily increased from the mid 1950s on and the firm designed more than 100 residential complexes in the 1950s and 60s, primarily in the five boroughs and Long Island.
The projects tend to be efficient, stripped down designs primarily in brick with little detail to distinguish one from the next, but many featuring amenities to attract middle class tenants. The brochure for one project in Elmhurst states “The charm of the suburbs–the conveniences of the city…this is Gramercy House.” (5) Extensive listing of amenities was key in drawing in new residents moving to the area.
The firm’s design pinnacle was their partnership with the Birchwood Organization, for which they designed several major projects, Sheila Terrace in Elmhurst (1963), Gramercy Spire in Manhattan (1963), Birchwood Towers in Forest Hills (1964), and Birchwood Park at Water’s Edge in Bayside (1967). These complexes, with nearly 1,500 apartments combined, were aimed at a higher income tenant with luxury amenities such as swimming pools, ornamental fountains, floor to ceiling windows, private balconies, and in the case of Water’s Edge, a putting green on the property.
Birchwood also offered a distinctly modern amenity–themed buildings and lobbies. Each of the Water’s Edge and Birchwood Towers buildings had a different placed-based name, such as the Toledo, the Versailles, and the Kyoto, and lobby decorated in that respective theme. Gramercy Spire, on the other hand, was completely Japanese inspired, with a covered oriental walkway, a Japanese garden, and a sunken conversation pit in the lobby with oriental flourishes.
Both Birchwood Towers and Birchwood Park won Queens Chamber of Commerce Building Awards, as did Birchwood Park’s temporary sales office, a large peaked pavilion within a landscaped garden, long since demolished. The firm also received awards for two hotels, the Schine Inn in Forest Hills (1961) and the Riviera in Jamaica (1963), as well as Skyline Towers in Flushing (1966), another major apartment development.
In addition to designing middle income housing, cooperative housing was also an important body of work for the firm. Together, the firm worked on major cooperative housing complexes such as the EW Jimerson Houses (Brooklyn, 1959), Grandview Towers (Queens, 1962), River Terrace Apartments (Manhattan, 1964), and Scott Tower (Bronx, 1966), as well as more than a dozen others. Jarmul’s daughter states that this focus on co-operative and other forms of government subsidized housing coincided with his interest in projects that helped the less privileged . Previously Jarmul had designed several additions (gymnasium, dormitory, and swimming pool facility) to the Bulova Company’s Woodside School, in which disabled individuals learned the watchmaking and repair trade .
In 1969, the partnership dissolved with Jarmul teaming up with Bernard Brizee and Paul making his son a partner. Both firms continued into the 1970s, completing similar projects.
Beechcroft Apartments, Flushing NY, 1952
Hilltop Village, Hollis NY, 1953
Iriquois Apartments, St. Albans NY, c. 1954
Hempstead General Hospital, Hempstead NY, 1955
White Oak Gardens, New Rochelle NY, 1955
Bertram Garden Apartments, Kew Gardens Hills NY, 1956
The Sandale, Flushing NY, 1956
Independent Builders, St. Albans NY, c. 1956
Kew Manor, Kew Gardens NY, c. 1956
Sherman Terrace, Bronx NY, 1957
Fieldstondale, Riverdale NY, 1958
Long Beach Terrace, Long Beach NY, 1958
The Parkside, Bronx NY, 1958
Concourse Terrace, Bronx NY, 1960
Dennis Lane Apartments, Bronx NY, 1960
Linden Towers, Queens NY, 1960
Pembroke, Norfolk VA, 1960
Public School 236, Brooklyn NY, 1960
Temple Israel School, Great Neck NY, 1960
The Hampshire, Astoria NY, 1960
333 E 79th St, NYC, 1961
The Cortlandt, Bronx NY, 1961
Gorman Housing, Brooklyn NY, 1961
The Hobart, Queens NY, 1961
Sherwood Village, Rego Park NY, 1961
Woodhull Arms, Queens NY, 1961
The Claridge, Flushing NY, 1962
Gramercy House, Elmhurst NY, 1962
Grandview Towers, Elmhurst NY, 1962
Grove Gardens, Freeport NY, 1962
Kew Forest School Gym, Kew Gardens, 1962
Manor Apartments, Hempstead NY, 1962
Robert Arms, Far Rockaway NY, 1962
Royale Apartments, Brooklyn NY, 1962
Saint James, Queens NY, 1962
Soundview Village, Port Washington NY, 1962
Van Cortlandt Towers, Bronx NY, 1962
Bulova School Dormitory, Gym and Pool Building, Woodside NY, 1962-66
Briarwood House, Jackson Heights NY, 1963
Crestwood Lake Heights, Yonkers NY, 1963
Gramercy Park Towers, NYC, 1963
Lenox Road, Rockville Centre NY, 1963
The Mayflower, NYC, 1963
Oxford Hall, Brooklyn NY, 1963
Palo Alto Apartments, Hollis NY, 1963
Queen Anne, Jackson Heights NY, 1963
Sheila Terrace, Jackson Heights NY, 1963
Talbot Hall, Queens NY, 1963
The Plymouth, NYC, 1963
Union Medical Center, Long Island City NY, 1963
Wilshire Hall, Jamaica NY, 1963
Breezy Point, Queens NY, 1964
Brewster House, Jackson Heights NY, 1964
Compton House, Jamaica NY, 1964
Deer Park Manor, Babylon NY, 1964
Neptune Towers, Long Beach NY, 1964
Olmstead House, Queens NY, 1964
Park View, Flushing NY, 1964
Plaza Towers, NYC, 1964
River Terrace Apartments, NYC, 1964
Wakefield Manor, Bronx NY, 1964
Berkshire Nursing Home, Babylon NY, 1965
Greystone, Yonkers NY, 1965
Heatherwood House, Port Jefferson NY, 1965
Jamaicaway Terrace, Boston MA, 1965
Rockaway Freeway (NYCHA), Rockaway NY, 1965
Seacrest, Brooklyn NY, 1965
Claridge Gardens, Great Neck NY, 1966
Crystal House, Teaneck NJ, 1966
Imperial House, Brooklyn NY, 1966
Island Gardens, City Island NY, 1966
Scott Tower, Bronx NY, 1966
Mosswood, Fairfield CT, 1967
Windsor Park Towers, Cherry Hill NJ, 1967
Georgetowne, Boston MA, 1968
Rochester Highlands, Rochester NY, 1968
Skyline Towers, Flushing NY, 1968
Surf Avenue (NYCHA), Brooklyn NY, 1968
Wilshire Park, Oakdale NY, 1968
Tower 58, NYC, 1969
Norwood Court, St. Louis MS, 1970
Cadman Towers, Brooklyn NY, 1972
- Jarmul, Seymour. American Architects Directory, Third Edition. R.R. Bowker LLC. 1970. Web.
- Paul, Samuel. American Architects Directory, Third Edition. R.R. Bowker LLC. 1970. Web.
- Jarmul, Ruth. Phone interview 30, November, 17.
- Gramercy House brochure, No date. New York Real Estate Brochure Collection, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. Web.
- Jarmul, Ruth. Phone interview 30, November, 17.
- Jarmul Brizee project list, date unknown. Collection of Nancy Collamer.