This is the first of four awards that Leo. F. Kearns would win for their facilities. A. F. Meissner was primarily a church architect and the Kearns family new him from local Catholic circles. But here he did something completely different with a Frank Lloyd-esque one story structure using a variety of materials to create a design unlike anything else in Queens or even NYC. The apocryphal story is that one of the Kearns brothers suggested this basic design to him when an earlier three-story Colonial Revival design was too cost prohibitive. Meisser’s design for the second Kearns branch also followed this lead. The Richmond Hill branch won a second award in 1964 for an alteration by Raymond Irrera to add an elevator enclosure. The addition is almost completely indistinguishable from the original structure. Today the Kearns family still own the building and use it for their popular funeral business.
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.
This complex is a standard suburban style medical center, common in other parts of the country but less so in New York City. The elements are a dark brown brick with white trim and a flat roof.