Barkin, Levin & Company Office Pavilion

STATUS Designated Individual Landmark

12-12 33rd Avenue, Queens

CLIENT: Barkin, Levin & Company

ARCHITECT: Ulrich Franzen

DATE: 1957-58

STYLE: Modern

Designated: December 19, 2023

Ulrich Franzen’s Barkin, Levin & Company Office Building offers both a history of the development of Modernism in America, and an education about the architectural development of Postwar Queens.

Ulrich Franzen was born in Dusseldorf and died in Santa Fe. That trajectory reflects the paths of Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer, whom Franzen studied under at Harvard. After graduation, Franzen worked in the office of I.M. Pei.

This spectacular Modernist lineage brings us to Queens, where 61 percent of all buildings constructed in New York City from 1930 to 1943 were built. This architectural fecundity continued in the postwar years, because the population of Queens rose an average of 20 percent each decade from 1940 to 1970, a time when it was falling or staying steady in other boroughs.

The 1958 Barkin, Levin building stood out among the deluge of new buildings. Upon completion, it was awarded “first prize in the industrial class” by the Queens Chamber of Commerce for its “ultra modern glass-wall” design.

The building also stands out because of its siting, which includes a landscaped plot enclosed by low brick walls, concrete walkways, and grass lawns. The fact that an industrial building, designed as a coat factory, was intended to be surrounded by a landscaped campus, speaks not only to Franzen’s design intent but also to the fact that postwar Queens was still so relatively bucolic that such a large parcel of land was available for this project.

The fact that both the building and its siting remain intact makes it even more remarkable and worthy of recognition and protection.

STATUS Designated Individual Landmark

Take Action

Add the next LPC meeting to your calendar.

Let your local representative know you care.

Share your photos of this neighborhood

Help preserve New York’s architectural history with a contribution to HDC

$10 $25 $50
Other >
The Neighborhood

Long Island City

The westernmost portion of Queens remained predominantly rural and undeveloped until around 1870, when Long Island City was incorporated from the nascent industrial communities of Astoria, Blissville, Hunters Point and Ravenswood. The start of this area’s growth began when the Long Island Rail Road moved...

Aaron Dexter, Aaron Douglas, Abolitionist, Academic Classic, Adamesque, Addisleigh Park, Admiral's Row, African American, Al Smith, American Aesthetic, American Art ... VIEW ALL

Explore the Neighborhood >

Local Voices

“I don’t know what the City would be without HDC. [They] testified before LPC time after time and helped us focus on the right issues. We would not be an historic district without HDC! ”

Doreen Gallo: DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance

Local Voices

“Use HDC as a resource because they know what they are doing and can offer advice on how to go about creating a district from every front: architectural, political, LPC, and the media. I had floundered prior to my involvement with this invaluable organization.”

Fern Luskin: Lamartine Place Historic District; Friends of Lamartine Place & Gibbons Underground Railroad Site

Local Voices

“HDC provided guidance and shared information during that process—we knew which Council members were going one way or another and we changed a few minds. I don’t think NoHo would have had as cohesive a district had it not been for HDC’s aid.”

Zella Jones: NoHo Historic District; NoHo East; and NoHo Extension

Local Voices

“I remember Richard saying at a meeting, we have someone here from HDC, Nadezhda Williams, Director of Preservation and Research, to help us. She said to us, ‘You are not the only ones going through this.’ HDC included us in an enormous community”

Erika Petersen: West End Preservation Society

Local Voices

"HDC has begun a series of projects to highlight the Bronx's architectural and cultural history. From booklet's and research highlighting specific sites and historic districts to the HDC's symposium in October 2018 to the latest community-based committee to look into further possible sites to qualify for landmarking, the HDC has established projects that will serve the Bronx community well."

Elena Martinez
City Lore, Folklorist
Bronx Music Heritage Center, Co-Artistic Director

Local Voices

"Welcome2TheBronx is grateful for the advocacy done by the Historic Districts Council on behalf of the people of The Bronx. Through their deep connections and understanding of the importance of preserving our local histories, The Bronx has been able to have several spotlights shown on endangered communities as gentrification creeps into the borough."

Ed García Conde,
founder and Executive Director,

Nearby + Similar Buildings

Designated Individual Landmark

Midtown East