Located just across the street from the Rockaway Beach boardwalk, originally these buildings were clad in white brick and probably looked more similar to the Kesslers’ most prominent design, Washington Square Village. Today the buildings have been resurfaced in tan stucco with some dark red horizontal areas and dark red slab balconies which give the buildings a more drab, utilitarian appearance. The five buildings only occupy 11% of the total land but the site is minimally landscaped. The awards program description also states that houses of worship were included in the design, which could possibly refer to the pre-existing St. Rose of Lima Church and Temple of Israel on Beach 84th Street.
When built Silver Tower was the tallest residential building on Long Island. Today it’s not even the tallest building nearby (which goes to Court Plaza of 1974), but it still largely dominates low rise Kew Gardens. The building is not silver but rather white brick with vertical accents of grey brick. The base is a glossy black granite. The tower rises 16 floors initially and then another 11 as a setback tower. While not an elegant design, the building speaks to the continued market for apartments with the latest amenities during this time.
This nonprofit complex shows the increasing stripped down design of the late 1960s and early 1970s with very little decoration to speak of. The building is two stories and clad in pale brick and granite. There was a simple grillwork of cast stone screening a balcony to the right of the entrance that has been removed, making the structure even more spare.
While the main architects of The Highlander were the Kesslers, the lobby was designed by none other than architect Morris Lapidus, most well known for his exuberant Miami modern hotels. Lapidus was a prolific interior designer as well, creating high-style lobbies and lounges for his hotels as well as commercial establishments in New York City. Not much is known about what the lobby originally looked like here. The Highlander’s entrance is down a set of rambling stairs and originally had meandering paths and rock gardens flanking it. The apartments themselves were open plan to accommodate modern living. Fred Trump was the developer of the property.