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Posted inOpinion

Pending Post Office Sale Threatens Depression-Era Murals

Although the US Postal Service is now being forced to scrap its plan to end Saturday mail delivery, it’s still looking for ways to cut costs. Selling buildings is one option, and in February, the organization put forward a proposal to sell the Bronx General Post Office, a Depression-era building from 1935. Erected as part of a federal program to employ out-of-work architects, engineers, and artists, the block-long building was designed by Thomas Harlan Ellett and includes exterior sculptures by Henry Kreis and Charles Rudy. It was landmarked in 1976, which means it would be preserved from destruction in the event of a sale; however, that landmark status does not apply to the interior — and it just so happens that 13 murals by artist Ben Shahn cover the walls of the lobby.

Posted inNews

Threatened Frank Lloyd Wright House Is Saved

While most of us don’t believe in Christmas miracles, this story may come close. Two and a half months after a story about the potential destruction of a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Phoenix, Arizona, appeared on the front page of the New York Times, a deal has gone through to buy the building from its current owners and preserve it.

Posted inNews

Japanese Modernist Landmark Preserved in Manhattan

At only 40 years old, Japan Society’s low-slung modernist headquarters at 333 East 47th Street has just been named New York’s youngest landmark building by the state’s Landmark Preservation Commission. The structure, designed by Junzo Yoshimura and George G. Shimamoto and first completed in 1971, translates traditional Japanese architectural forms into a modernist idiom, bowing to neither but combining the two languages in an innovative and complex way. I spoke with Japan Society vice president Joe Earle about the landmark designation and his experience of the building itself.