Lower Manhattan Skyline

The family-run architecture firm of Emery Roth and Sons has reshaped Manhattan’s skyline many times over. Emery Roth, known for designing upscale, often Art Deco, apartment buildings such as the Beresford, the San Remo, and the Eldorado, founded an architecture practice in 1903. In 1938, he renamed his practice Emery Roth and Sons to represent the inclusion of his two sons, Julian and Richard. The family tradition continued in the 1960s when Richard’s son, Richard Roth Jr., joined the firm and eventually became the chief architect. With each new generation, came new innovative designs and new buildings for New York City.

Inside the Emery Roth and Sons office, a young Richard Roth Jr is pointing.
Courtesy of the Roth Family Archives

Emery Roth and Sons was one of the most prolific New York City architecture firms of the twentieth century. According to a list of the biggest architecture firms in New York published by Crain’s in 1994, Emery Roth and Sons buildings accounted for 10.2 million square feet of project space, landing the firm at number 7 of 25. There was a mid-century boom of buildings by the firm that embodied the sleek, modern, Post-war style. These buildings, mostly commercial offices, were designed with curtain walls, public plazas, and lots of glass, steel, and concrete. With the guidance of Richard Roth Jr.’s daughter and Untapped New York Insider Robyn Roth-Moise, we’ve compiled a list of 10 of the most famous Post-war buildings designed by Emery Roth and Sons.

On Wednesday, November 30th, join Untapped New York Insiders, Chief Experience Office Justin Rivers, and Roth family members for a virtual Insider Roundtable: Remembering Richard Roth Jr. This event is free for Untapped New York Insiders. The roundtable will feature a short retrospective of Roth Jr.’s work, never before seen interview clips, and the chance to share your own memories. This event is free for Untapped New York Insiders.

Richard Roth Jr. stands in front of a background of the NYC skyline

Remembering Richard Roth Jr.

 1. Word Trade Center – 1973

Few New York City buildings are as iconic or recognizable as the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center. While architectural credit most often goes to Japanese-American architect Minoru Yamasaki, the design and engineering of the World Trade Center was a collaborative endeavor by Yamasaki, Emery Roth and Sons, and the Port Authority. In 1962, Yamasaki was selected from a list of dozens of other illustrious architects to design the center. Yamasaki’s Michigan-based firm paired with the New York-based firm of Emery Roth and Sons to get the project done.

In a talk with Richard Roth Jr., available in the Untapped New York Insiders on-demand archive, Roth notes that the firm was most famously known for creating all of the working drawings for the World Trade Center and for the Citicorp Building. The massive project of designing and constructing the World Trade Center complex took over a decade from conception to completion. Later, in 1987, Emery Roth and Sons would return to the site to design 7 World Trade.