Begrisch Hall at Bronx Community College

STATUS Designated Individual Landmark

ARCHITECT: Marcel Breuer and Associates

DATE: 1956-1961

STYLE: Brutalism

Completed in 1961, Begrisch Hall stands in the southwest section of the campus of Bronx Community College, located in University Heights. This remarkable trapezoidal structure was designed by Marcel Breuer, one of the midtwentieth century’s leading architects. Breuer, who emigrated to the United States to join the faculty at Harvard University in 1937, began his career at the Bauhaus in Germany, studying design and serving as head of the carpentry workshop. During the late 1940s, New York University embarked on a major building campaign. Many prominent architects participated, including Breuer who relocated his practice to New York City in 1946 and was commissioned in 1956 to design a comprehensive master plan for the University Heights campus. Among the five structures built, Begrisch Hall was the most daring. Executed in exposed reinforced concrete, it features a pair of sloping cantilevers that spring from side-wall trusses and appear to defy gravity. These bold sculptural forms reflect specific programmatic requirements, enclosing a pair of steep-floored lecture halls, seating a combined two hundred-and-fifty students. These elevated rooms are reached by a staircase that rises from ground level and by an enclosed concrete bridge connected to the Gould Technology Building. The principal facades, at east and west, are decorated with intersecting channels that divide the textured walls into triangles, trapezoids and rectangles. An important work by this noted architect, Begrisch Hall exemplifies his later career, a period when Breuer frequently investigated the expressive qualities of reinforced concrete, anticipating such notable structures as the Whitney Museum of American Art.

STATUS Designated Individual Landmark

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