It's painfully evident that Buffalo has suffered hard times -- vacancies abound downtown and the East Side, the neighborhood separating downtown Buffalo from the suburb in which my hotel is located, is home to a striking number of boarded-up buildings and urban prairies. However, it's also plain that Buffalo is an architectural gem. Its downtown is home to a striking number of buildings that any city would be proud to claim as its own.
Electric Tower, formerly known as the Niagara Mohawk Building. This white terracotta Beaux-Arts beauty was designed by James A. Johnson and was completed in 1912.
5 East Huron Avenue is much more modestly sized, and it may not look like much in the harsh sunlight of late afternoon . . . .
Buffalo Industrial Bank building at 17 Court Street is one of my favorites. This not particularly good photo doesn't do it justice.
Liberty Building at 424 Main Street sits diagonally opposite the Buffalo Industrial Bank Building. Designed by British architect Alfred Bossom and finished in 1925, it's unusual in that it's a) neoclassical in style and b) has two replicas of the Statue of Liberty sitting atop its roof.
Buffalo City Hall, which dominates Niagara Square, is an Art Deco masterpiece. It was designed by John Wade with the assistance of George Dietel and completed in 1931. Owing to the strength and position of the late afternoon sun, I wasn't able to get a good picture of the building's front (you'll find a good one here), but even the back is spectacular.
Michael J. Dillon U.S. Courthouse, which opened last year and is a certified "green" building, echoes the curvature of Niagara Square (which is more a traffic circle than a square), it also seems badly situated: it flanks the northwest corner of City Hall. It's a nonetheless a refreshing change from the bland neoclassicalism of all too many newer federal government buildings, and in a different setting it would be nothing short of stunning.
Prudential Building (formerly the Guaranty Building), which was designed by eminent Chicago architect Louis Sullivan and his colleague Dankmar Adler. Completed in 1896, it is an early and superb example of the steel skeleton skyscraper.
I love spending time in Great Lakes cities -- I grew up outside of Cleveland and find the architecture and geography of all of the Great Lakes cities familiar and comforting -- I wish I could spend some more time here.