With the recent events in Egypt, including the surprising abdication by Hosni Mubarak, it seems fitting that this week’s 304 East 44th St, New York
), as if it was a call of optimism to all the faithful protesters that took to the streets. But in truth, my interest in this building has more to do with its own re-appropriations than the one we all anticipate with the coming changes in the Egyptian government.
With rallies held at its footsteps just a couple of days earlier, the building now looks nude with a sentry of only four of New York’s Finest. High above the grand doorway, emblazoned beneath the flag, reads the curious description: “Beaux-Arts Institute of Design” in a bold, Art-Deco styled font.
Founded in 1916 by Lloyd Warren
and Frederic Charles Hirons
, French architects who studied at the École des Beax-Arts in Paris, with the purpose of training American architects and artists in the pedagogy of that institution, the BAID began instruction in a temporary home at 126 East 75th Street. Hirons designed the future home of the BAID at 304 East 44th Street in 1928, which was awarded by competition.
The stark brick façade is decorated with Art-Deco styled capitals that adorn the flush brick pilasters, the spandrel infill between the second and third story windows are inlaid with simple mosaics by Rene Chambellan depicting structures in Rome, Athens and Paris, while those above are only adorned with simple geometric rectangles typical of that period. In 1988 the building received landmark status by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission and in 2008 became the home for the Permanent Mission of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the United Nations.