Although many of the nearby Queens Chamber award winning buildings have been demolished, this one-story, utilitarian building remains. The building sits at on a corner lot with an angled entrance facing directly into the intersection. Besides several lines of subtle decoratively-shaped stone tiles in vertical rows, the entire structure lacks any overt detailing.
Unfortunately this moody but handsome building was demolished in 2013 just before this project started. A new, much taller building is taking this corner site off of Queens Plaza and several other Queens Modern winners nearby have also been lost in recent years. The award winning rectilinear structure was built on a sloping corner moving from two to three stories including basement and clad in striking black enamel brick and a brassy colored metal framing system running down one side of the building.
This one-story bank still sits at the beginning of Queens Boulevard, sited by itself along the road with a large expanse of parking behind it. The orientation has changed with the entrance moved to the other side of the building and all original details are now obscured or removed.
In an interesting twist, the former Michelin Tire Corporation building is now owned by the Bulova Watch Company, whose former school and corporate center are both among the awarded structures, although neither is now owned by Bulova. The building is long and low with corporate offices at level with the parking lot and a warehousing area behind. The structure is oriented at a right angle to the street to protect from noise and sun exposure as the site sits astride a service road to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, which roars away in a sunken roadbed below. The color palette of the complex is subdued in browns and blacks, although the awards program states that it was originally highlighted with additional blue, orange and yellow accents at the entrance and interior.
Barkin, Levin & Co. Is a tour-de-force of mid-century design hiding in plain sight. The building is off the beaten track in a rather quiet corner of Long Island City, befitting its original role as a factory and offices for a coat manufacturer. The factory is a fairly standard steel frame with brick facade, but the administrative wing with its umbrella support system sheltering a glass box is very striking even with some minor modern alterations, like a low masonry wall breaking the openness of the glass pavilion. Unusually, the Queens Awards write-up states that the spaces of the building and equipment were jointly designed by the architect and the owner of Barkin, Levin. Franzen went on to design other significant modern structures but this “collaboration” is a definite highlight.