The Leo Kearns series of funeral home facilities are unique within the Queens Modern lexicon, featuring elements of West Coast modernism and showing the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright, both rarities in the borough’s mid-century design. The former executive office building, now a daycare center is much more restrained than the two extant funeral homes, and is largely a brick cube with simple limestone and granite detailing. Raymond Irrera did this building and one of the two funeral buildings, with Meisner doing the other, so its unclear why the Kearns company employed a more restrained style here.
As noted in the original awards program, the Corona Library is a simple steel frame with the roof deck laid over bar joists. Most of what can be seen today on the exterior is part of an extensive renovation and upgrade by Gruzen Samton (also a firm which has received Queens Chamber awards). There is a minimal brick and metal facade covering and originally the entrance was recessed, but has since been filled in with a contemporary glass storefront. Gruzen Samton’s project also address modern needs such as ADA compliance and adding much-needed space with a light-filled reading room at the rear.
The description of this building in the awards program make it clear that this was constructed as more of a social services venue than a professional gathering place. The buildings purpose is described as “…provides a long-standing need for a center which not only reflects the high standing of the legal profession in Queens, but which also serves as a haven for the lay public of unfortunate means burdened with legal difficulties.” Interior spaces highlight are set aside for meeting areas, an assembly hall, a social hall, a library, conference rooms and originally a caretaker’s apartment. The front is plain but with a prominent corner entrance featuring a metal sculpture of justice mounted on a black granite panel.
The Queens Village branch of the Queens Public Library features a concrete structure clad in brick, limestone and granite with aluminum windows and doors. Architectural detailing is relegated to the area around the entrance– originally the Seal of New York was featured above the door, but was subsequently removed. When originally built a low decorative fence, most likely of aluminum, surrounded the property. This has been replaced with a tall, imposing iron fence.