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 [1]. 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 [2]. 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 [3].

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 [6]. 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 [7].

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.

Selected 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

Rego Park Gardens, Rego Park NY, 1957

Sherman Terrace, Bronx NY, 1957

Fieldstondale, Riverdale NY, 1958

Long Beach Terrace, Long Beach NY, 1958

The Parkside, Bronx NY, 1958

EW Jimerson Housing, Brooklyn NY, 1959

Concourse Terrace, Bronx NY, 1960

Dennis Lane Apartments, Bronx NY, 1960

Linden Towers, Queens NY, 1960

Merrickana Apartments, 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

Old Country Park, Mineola NY, 1961

Park Towers, Brooklyn 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

Gramercy Spire, 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

Birchwood Towers, Forest Hills NY, 1964

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

Birchwood Park at Water’s Edge, Bayside NY, 1967

Mosswood, Fairfield CT, 1967

Windsor Park Towers, Cherry Hill NJ, 1967

Tilden Towers, Bronx NY, 1967-71

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

  1. Jarmul, Seymour. American Architects Directory, Third Edition. R.R. Bowker LLC. 1970. Web.
  2. Paul, Samuel. American Architects Directory, Third Edition. R.R. Bowker LLC. 1970. Web.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Jarmul, Ruth. Phone interview 30, November, 17.
  5. Gramercy House brochure, No date. New York Real Estate Brochure Collection, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. Web.
  6. Jarmul, Ruth. Phone interview 30, November, 17.
  7. Jarmul Brizee project list, date unknown. Collection of Nancy Collamer.

Queens Modern: The Architects

Queens Modern: The Architects