Today this building is a plain brick industrial building that has been converted to educational use. But when it won an award in 1966, the building featured an unusual combination of breeze block screens, fieldstone veneer around the entrance, aluminum framing the windows, and vertical piers of marble chips embedded in white cement. Sadly, none of this remains today as an example of when companies were using eye-catching buildings to stand out from fellow competitors. The owner of the building Arnold Levien likely gave the architect and his relative, Maurice Levien, a loose hand to design as he liked when he radically altered the building from its previous appearance.
Replaced by a large hotel, this honorable mention project consisted of a one story pale brick industrial building, of which numerous examples still line the streets of Long Island City. However they are quickly disappearing to an onslaught of new residential development.
The Russ Togs building is a large blank building, its facade of blocks of tan brickface intersected at regular intervals by narrow vertical lines of dark windows. There is a central core differentiated by a slightly higher facade wall, dark grey brickface, and a wall of windows above the entrance. The structure housed a prominent clothing manufacturer, well known and expanding when this facility was built, but bankrupt by 1991. The layout of three floors with 20 foot ceilings and 70,000 square feet was directly for the needs of the company’s line of business. Today the structure houses a cosmetic manufacturer.
The entrance to this expansive facility is at ground level through a parking structure. The rest of the complex rises above on a slight hill above 56th Road. While undoubtably state of the art at the time, there is not much to understand stylisticly about the plant, which is mostly a set of various one-story boxes housing the various functions of the plant. Even the subtle design of the garage entrance with curved pilasters has been removed and replaced with a standard utilitarian feel.
This two story pale brick elevator company building has subtle brick designs and simple angles that make it seem like it could date from the early 1940s instead of the late 50s. It is very dissimilar to the larger Armor Elevator headquarters built three years later or even the Otis Elevator building built the same year, both of which evoke their period more typically.