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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Michael Friedlander, Urban Architect of Offbeat Designs, Dies at 63

Asked by a group board member to clarify why the truck storage he designed at twelfth Avenue and West fifty fifth Street was punctuated by so many home windows, Mr. Friedlander replied, unpretentiously, “There are people inside.”

That storage received an award in 2007 from town’s Art Commission (now the Public Design Commission). So did a shed with translucent tent cloth in Far Rockaway, Queens, that’s used to retailer ice-melting salt for sanitation vans to spew on winter roadways. He additionally obtained a lifetime achievement award from the fee.

But Mr. Friedlander might be finest recognized for overseeing the design and development of the Spring Street Salt Shed, at West and Spring Streets close to the Hudson River, in addition to the adjoining storage. Those buildings received an Honor Award from the 2018 American Institute of Architects.

Tobi Bergman, the chair of Community Board 2, which had initially opposed the project, instructed Architect journal in 2016: “Anybody who has seen it has to be happy with it. It’s a real example of how these things can be done well.”

Mr. Friedlander instructed The Times in 2015 that his secret to overcoming not-in-my-backyard opposition to public works was simple: “Build the best building in the neighborhood.”

“I keep learning from one building to the other,” he stated. “I may not make a ton of money, but I’m having fun.”

Michael Jay Friedlander was born on June 6, 1957, in Manhattan to Frances (Kempner) Friedlander, a trainer, and Joseph Friedlander, an insurance coverage consultant.

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