Administration Building, Queens Botanical Gardens

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This administration building was constructed in 1963, on the site of the new Queens Botanical Garden. The previous garden was in Flushing Meadows Park but was moved to a neighboring plot to accommodate construction for the 1963-64 World’s Fair. The building had stone walls and glass expanses to allow for viewing out onto the garden. Slate floors, exposed wooden beams, and wooden decks also helped the building blend into its surroundings.

Queens Zoo Restaurant Building and Terrace

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The Queens Zoo restaurant building, a circular pavilion of reinforced concrete and floor-to-ceiling glass, is still in daily use. In addition to the central structure, there is an adjacent brick service wing and curvilinear walls extending out next to it. The entire complex sits at the top of descending levels of terraces with trees, seating, and paved surfaces.

Queens County Bar Association

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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.

Jackson Heights Library

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The Jackson Heights Branch of the Queens Library system was only the second one completed post World War II. It sits on 81st Street just off the commercial cooridor. It was designed by Simeon Heller, the building awards’ longtime chairman who’s own house also won an award the same year. Many of his other buildings have since been demolished so it is interesting to compare these two to get a sense of his design principles. Light seems to be a major focus and there is ample light from both the front and rear of the structure. The front is faced in limestone with prominent aluminum trim. To either side of the entrance are small square windows pierced into the limestone to give light to the circulation stairwells.

Queens Village Public Library

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The Queens Village branch of the Queens Public Library features a concrete structure clad in brick, limestone and granite with aluminum windows and doors. Architectural detailing is relegated to the area around the entrance– originally the Seal of New York was featured above the door, but was subsequently removed. When originally built a low decorative fence, most likely of aluminum, surrounded the property. This has been replaced with a tall, imposing iron fence.