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A valedictory to a house for Brotherhood and Fashion

June 20, 2015

In a recent article in the New York Times, local reporter David Dunlap shines the spotlight on a lesser-known work by William Lescaze. The building is slated for demolition to make way for a new hotel. DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-State featured it in its inaugural issue of mod in the “Lost/Found” section, excerpted here:

Located at 560 Seventh Avenue, this unassuming building is a late work of Swiss-born architect William Lescaze, best remembered for the 1932 Philadelphia Savings Fund Society tower he designed with George Howe. The boundary-pushing spirit of PSFS was gone by 1959, when Lescaze designed this building to house a synagogue and cultural center for the community improvement organization Brotherhood in Action. Completed in July 1963, the building is set back from the avenue street wall and raised on a low podium. Its exterior of limestone cladding framed by exposed steel shows the influence of Mies. This subdued approach was likely meant to reflect Brotherhood in Action’s commitment to inclusivity. Sadly, that inclusivity is not being extended by New York’s rabid real estate industry. Parsons the New School, the building’s latest owner, recently sold the property to a developer with the announced intention to build a 20-story hotel complex on the site.

Brotherhood in Action building as it appeared in 2014, William Lescaze, New York.