Emery Roth & Sons


Emery Roth & Sons (1938-1996) was a family-run architecture firm that had a major influence on the post-war development of Manhattan. In 1938 the architect Emery Roth (1871-1948), renowned for upscale Manhattan apartment buildings like the Beresford and the San Remo, renamed his practice Emery Roth & Sons to reflect the inclusion of his sons Julian and Richard as partners. Julian (1901-1992) specialized in construction costs and building materials and technology, while Richard (1904-1987) was named the firm's principal architect. In the early 1960s, Richard Roth's son, Richard Roth, Jr. (b. 1933) became the third generation to join the firm, eventually rising to chief architect and shareholder. As the firm expanded and diversified over six decades, it remained a family business through the 1990s.

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This collection primarily contains architectural drawings, correspondence, business records, and a small number of photographs related to the projects of Emery Roth & Sons and its subsidiary entities. A large portion of the entities are represented only in the Office Records series and are identified as such. Records date from 1906 to 1996; the bulk is from between 1951 and the 1994.

Emery Roth & Sons continued to design high-rise apartment buildings in Manhattan, as Emery Roth had, but shortly after World War II the firm began to shift its focus to high-rise office buildings. As they became increasingly specialized in commercial space, they worked closely with real estate developers such as the Uris Corporation, Tishman Construction, Diesel Construction, the Durst Organization, and Helmsley-Spear, Inc.

Over the years the firm consistently provided marketable designs that maximized the net rentable area, a feature highly prized by real estate developers.

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Writing of the firm’s work in a 1957 article, Richard Roth remarked “The entire endeavor in our office is to create the best that can be produced within the restrictions that are placed upon us; and these restrictions are seldom those of our client, but rather of lending institutions; economics; and municipal authorities’ laws” (Progressive Architecture, June 1957).

Significant examples of Emery Roth & Sons' work in New York include 55 Water Street, 300 Park Avenue, the Palace Hotel, 546 Fifth Avenue, and 600 Lexington Avenue. The firm frequently collaborated with other architects on large projects for which ERS was the architect of record. These projects included the Portland Municipal Building (Michael Graves), the Pan Am Building (Walter Gropius), 1585 Broadway (Gwathmey Siegel & Associates), 7 Hanover Square (Norman Jaffe), 375 Hudson Street (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill), the General Motors Office Building (Edward Durell Stone), and the World Trade Center (Minoru Yamasaki).

7 World Trade Center, New York, NY, circa 1986. 7 World Trade Center, New York, NY, circa 1986.