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
The only borough contiguous with the mainland of the United States, the Bronx was named for Jonas Bronck who established a settlement in the area in 1639. The Bronx’s main thoroughfare, the Grand Concourse, was conceived as part of the City Beautiful movement. It was...Explore the Neighborhood >
“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
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Fern Luskin: Lamartine Place Historic District; Friends of Lamartine Place & Gibbons Underground Railroad Site
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Zella Jones: NoHo Historic District; NoHo East; and NoHo Extension
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Erika Petersen: West End Preservation Society
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City Lore, Folklorist
Bronx Music Heritage Center, Co-Artistic Director
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