Architect Albert Ledner, who’s known for designing more than a dozen midcentury modern homes in New Orleans, has passed away at the age of 93. The New York Times reports that Ledner died on November 14 in Manchester, NH, while visiting his son.
He was recently in New York to attend a screening of Designing Life: The Modernist Legacy of Albert C. Ledner, a documentary by his daughter Catherine Ledner and her cousin Roy Beeson, at the Architecture and Design Film Festival in New York.
While Ledner’s body of work is heavily skewed toward private homes, the Bronx-born architect also left his mark on New York City. In the 1960s, an attorney friend introduced Ledner to the National Maritime Union, which would become his biggest client, commissioning him to design a trio of buildings in and around Greenwich Village.
National Maritime Union of America building
Built in 1964, this modernist structure is affectionately known as the “Overbite Building,” due to its peculiar scalloped facade with porthole windows. It served as the headquarters for the Maritime Union, though is probably best known for the period when it was part of the now-defunct St. Vincent’s Hospital.
In 1974, the six-story structure was renamed the Edward and Theresa O’Toole Medical Services Building, and in 2011, it was donated to Northwell Health. The eccentric building still stands on Seventh Avenue South and is now home to Lenox Health Greenwich Village.
Shortly after the Maritime Union headquarters building debuted, Ledner designed a second project for the organization. This time, it was an 11-story building, located on Ninth Avenue between 16th and 17th streets, with more than 100 porthole windows. In 2007, the building was converted into the Dream Hotel, with Handel Architects leading a redesign that added a modern facade and other spaces while retaining some of Ledner’s original design—such as those porthole windows.
The Maritime Hotel
The building that is now home to the Maritime Hotel was the third and final structure that Ledner designed for the National Maritime Union. Much of Ledner’s original design remains, including its five-foot porthole windows. But those are accented by modern touches, including wood-paneled rooms, custom teak furniture, and a rooftop terrace illuminated by coconut lights.