In 1941, as New York and the nation struggled through the end of the Great Depression, two young architects, Sid Schuman and Sam Lichtenstein, who had met while working in the design department of Bell Telephone Company, decided to form their own architectural firm. Schuman and Lichtenstein, graduates of Columbia University and New York University, respectively, identified what they considered to be an overlooked and potentially lucrative business: the remodeling of single-family urban row houses into multi-family dwellings.
Centering their practice in the thriving real estate market of New York City, the architects’ reputations grew quickly and they soon diversified their work. Schuman and Lichtenstein, along with later partners Peter Claman and Al Efron, navigated a changing economic and cultural landscape with a flexible approach to style and typology that would come to define their firm into the future. Projects initially ranged from office buildings to synagogues, from cinemas to strip malls. In the 1970s, high-rise, luxury rental apartment buildings became an enduring staple of the firm’s work, as did hospitals, which the firm had begun to design as early as the 1950s. At the same time, SLCE added mid-rise affordable housing and senior residences, as well as adaptive re-use and rehabilitation projects to its output.
Providing complete architectural and design services throughout all phases of construction, SLCE remains dedicated to adhering to program and negotiating the intricacies of a given site. The firm has long been distinguished by its knowledge of complex urban environments and its ability to bring vast technical and regulatory expertise to bear on the execution of large-scale projects. In addition to design, the firm’s services include feasibility and zoning studies, master planning, and full contract documents. Excelling at meeting clients’ expectations and requirements by completing projects within budget and on time, the firm has produced work that reflects how things get done in competitive urban real estate markets; SLCE provides key insights into the evolution of 20th- and 21st-century architectural practice.
Originally Schuman Lichtenstein Architects, then eventually Schuman Lichtenstein Claman Efron, SLCE adopted its current name after the retirement of Al Efron in the late 1990s. Today its New York office has 150 employees.
Top Left – Kingsbrook Medical Center (1970s)
Mid-Left – Bay Towers Rockaway – Residential (1975)
Bottom-Left – Free Standing – National Bank (1970s)
Right – 2 Grand Central – Office (1981)