BANK OF AMERICA

89-01 Queens Boulevard
1968, William F. Cann Co.

Formerly the Jamaica Savings Bank, this modernist building is a bold expression of mid-20th century engineering, and one of the most unique and memorable structures at Queens Boulevard. It was built between 1966 and 1968 as part of the bank’s centennial by the William F. Cann Company, who were commissioned to design a small branch that would not be overshadowed by neighboring commercial structures. The Bank Building Corporation, which designed and built hundreds of branch offices in the United States, helped introduce modern aesthetics into the banking mainstream, setting aside the classical sources that long dominated the field. To create this eye-catching formed, called a hyperbolic paraboloid, the architects used reinforced concrete piers, a material known for its remarkable tensile strength and plasticity. The copper-clad roof extends 116 feet, reaching a height of 43 feet above the entrance. This solution had both practical and symbolic advantages; enhancing the structure’s visibility and creating a column-free interior. Today, a branch of Bank of America, this distinctive example of mid- 20th century modern architecture is well preserved and continues to serve its original function. It was designated as an individual landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2005, but the designation was overturned by the New York City Council, responding to owner opposition, political concerns and an antipathy for modern architecture.

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