Friday 21 April 2017

Forgotten Buffalo: A City of Untold Beauty

"Buffalo is home ot some of the greatest architecture of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, with major architects like Henry Hobson Richardson, Frederick Law Olmsted, Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright building marvels here.  Together they shaped one of the grandest early visions of the democratic American city." (Nicolai Ouroussoff)

Ellicott Square Building courtesy

Buffalo was built by architects who dared to break with the European architecture and create a new American architecture "rooted in American ideals of individualism, commerce and social mobility".  The city began to grow with the opening of the Erie Canal, paving the way for trade with the West.  By the end of the 19th Century, Buffalo was known for its grain silos and steel mills.  Enter Daniel Burnham and the City Beautiful Movement.

Daniel Burnham designed the Ellicott Square Building in 1896, with an Italian Renaissance facade.  A block away is Louis Sullivan's Guaranty Building built a year earlier, decorated in floral terra cotta tiles.  At the other end of town, Henry Hobson Richardson designed the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane (1870), featuring two soaring Romanesque towers and tall windows.  Frank Lloyd Wright swayed the most from the traditional European architecture with his designs, the Larkin Building (1904) and Darwin Martin House (1905).  Wright invented floor to ceiling glass doors and double window panes.  "The light filled atrium piercing its five floors...turned traditional office hierarchy on its head".  But no blog about historic Buffalo is complete without the wedding cake city hall.  Built in 1932, the 32-story art deco building was designed by John J. Wade and Andrew Jackson Warner.


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