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.
The Water’s Edge Building is one of the few intentionally temporary structures in the Queens Modern pantheon. It was constructed by the Birchwood Park Organization as a showroom for the neighboring Water’s Edge community, a large planned development that also won its own award. The exhibit center included a landscaped garden, a model of the entire Water’s Edge community, and access to model homes. In the late 1960s it was replaced with a somewhat banal group of townhouses.
The Walter Lippmann Building’s rehabilitation is truly wonderful and unexpected, although now marred by modern alterations. During the rehab, to keep costs down, a large tile mural was added to several areas of the exterior, including over the entrance, providing a striking focal point for this industrial street. At some point windows were punched through the main mural, destroying its integrity but the design remains mostly intact and is an enjoyable sight to come upon.
Some of the Queens Modern winners feature the use of new materials and here at the former Veterans of Foreign Wars meeting hall (since a church and now a special events space), the cornice is made of Granolux, which was a mid-century composite coating of marble and granite. It seems to have been a difficult material and is not mentioned frequently. The doors and windows are mirrored and the facade is glazed brick. The elaborate eagle flagpole dating from the veterans’ days remains today.
Mirrored glass began to appear more frequently in the late 1960s and here a bold bronze tinted plate glass and amber spandrel glass gives a corporate sheen to this former union headquarters. The building is raised up on a brick base with a large glazed brick band across the cornice as well. There is some marble cladding at the entrance stairway although its unclear if that is original.