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.
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.
Giving the appearance of a ranch dwelling (and called essentially the same thing in the awards writeup), the majority of award winning features seem to be on the interior of this residence, among them a curved entrance stair, a two-story ceiling height at the entrance, and a combined living room/dining room with windows overlooking the rear garden. The main takeaway from the exterior is the placement of the garage under the building due to the structure’s siting on a slope.
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.
The former City Savings and Loan is one of several Colonial Revival banks built in the mid-century. The one has a double height semicircular portico fronting a brick faced building topped by a slate covered roof and a white octagonal cupola complete with clock and weathervane. A wing running along Hillside Avenue includes two covered entrances for cars to reach the rear parking area and its roofline is topped by a Jeffersonian wooden railing.