Judging from the award program image, Simeon Heller’s Flushing Medical Building was a simple two-story brick box with a raised entrance and parking at the rear. The structure held 12 offices. Not only did Heller design the building but he was also most likely the owner, hidden behind the name 42-27 Union Street Corporation, which was based out of his architecture office at 38-11 Union Street. The building was demolished sometime in the past few decades and subsequently became a parking lot.
The Jackson Heights Branch of the Queens Library system was only the second one completed post World War II. It sits on 81st Street just off the commercial cooridor. It was designed by Simeon Heller, the building awards’ longtime chairman who’s own house also won an award the same year. Many of his other buildings have since been demolished so it is interesting to compare these two to get a sense of his design principles. Light seems to be a major focus and there is ample light from both the front and rear of the structure. The front is faced in limestone with prominent aluminum trim. To either side of the entrance are small square windows pierced into the limestone to give light to the circulation stairwells.
This structure built by an architect for his own residence is a simple and striking example of residential design. Heller was a longtime Queens Chamber Building Awards chairman and jury member. For his own home, he designed a modest home with, as the program book states, “…thought given to orientation for privacy, ventilation and view.” The building sits above grade on a slope with a garage and basement at street level. Although the description states that the design employs no special ornamentation, a calm design emerges with natural materials blending into a terraced landscape behind a rock retaining wall. The current owners have lovingly maintained the exterior design including a unique wood lattice framework on the side elevation.
This building addressed the issue of inserting a mixed use into a residential neighborhood. The structure, which housed both a residence and medical office had the character of a low ranch structure facing north to allow light to enter the examination and operating rooms. The building had a low hipped roof and a facade of brick and stone. It was demolished in approximately 2001 and the site is now filled by multifamily attached housing. Coincidentally, there is a similar building immediately nearby, the award-winning 1959 residence of Dr. Elmer Kestler, which also addresses the same issue and remains largely intact.