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Albert Ledner, Bronx-born midcentury architect, dies at age 93

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Ledner designed a trio of modernist gems in Manhattan

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 26:  A general view of recently opened Dream Hotel Downtown, which was a renovation of an iconic 1960's Albert C. Ledner building, on July 26, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Dario Cantatore/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 26: A general view of recently opened Dream Hotel Downtown, which was a renovation of an iconic 1960's Albert C. Ledner building, on July 26, 2011 in New York City.
Dario Cantatore/Getty Images

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.

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Dream Hotel

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.

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 26:  A general view of recently opened Dream Hotel Downtown, which was a renovation of an iconic 1960's Albert C. Ledner building, on July 26, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Dario Cantatore/Getty Images) Dario Cantatore/Getty Images.

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.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 9:  A view out the porthole window of the nautically-themed Maritime Hotel, located on 16th Street at 9th Avenue in the Meatpacking District, is viewed on June 9, 2017 in New York City.  With a full schedule of conventions and major sporting events taking place around the island of Manhattan each week, millions of global visitors will converge on New York City this year. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
A view out the porthole window of the nautically-themed Maritime Hotel, located on 16th Street at 9th Avenue in the Meatpacking District, is viewed on June 9, 2017 in New York City.
George Rose/Getty Images