This major addition to the Queens College campus received a Special Bronze Plaque in 1961. Containing new theaters, classrooms, workshops, rehearsal spaces, a television studio, and a speech clinic, each component of the complex is a different shape. Two major theater spaces, the Colden Auditorium (originally seating 2,143) and the Queens College Theatre (seating 500) face out onto the street, while the rest of the complex faces inward. The other components are separate music and speech wings and a speech clinic. Unusually, the central component is an outdoor amphitheatre accessed by covered walkways between the classroom wings. All buildings are clad in white brick with some accents in light blue. Original metal lettering is visible throughout. From 2010-2012, the theater spaces and music building were renovated and updated by WASA Studio A, the successor firm to the original architects Fellheimer and Wagner. But other than the exterior of the Colden Auditorium, most visible major changes occurred on the interior of the complex.
The first Borough’s Outstanding Award was presented in 1953 to the Bulova Watch complex. This monumental building uses a severely classical design, evoking many European and American classical municipal structures from the 1930s. Alexander Crossett was not a prominent architect of the period so it is unclear why he was offered such a major commission. Most of his other buildings in the city were small utilitarian industrial buildings. However Aymar Embery III, Robert Moses’ chief architect and designer of many of the Depression-era pool and recreational complexes across the city was the consulting architect here, which could explain the strong 1930s classical evocation. The design was inspired by the Federal Reserve Bank in Washington, DC.
One of the era’s selected Special Bronze Plaques went to this building. Scandinavian Airlines was making a statement with this building, siting it at a triangular point above the intersection of two major roads and using gleaming white brick as the main material. Kahn and Jacobs were also prominent designers of the era so this building has more to do with the showmanship seen with some of the major airport buildings. The neighborhood, while somewhat an arbitrary choice, was supposedly chosen as a location halfway between the two airports. The design is distinctly echoing in the white brick and glass of International design rather than the brick of the immediate surrounding area. Unfortunately, the building’s fortunes did not rise and once Scandinavian Airlines moved, the building has limped along, currently being occupied by a bank and a senior health care facility.