Lighting the grain elevators, great step forward

Things are happening on the water, it’s true. Slowly but surely the critical mass along the Inner and Outer Harbor is growing and it would seem as if there is indeed a rhyme and reason to what is happening.

Despite claims that the “slower, dumber, cheaper” approach has been a silver bullet unto itself, attention around Canalside and various properties on the Outer Harbor has grown to a height that has yet to be seen. The most recent example being the test lighting of a grain elevator last night. Continue reading

Further additions coming to Buffalo’s waterfront

After a decade of announcements, renderings and eventual letdowns with regard to most development around Canalside, the ECHDC went out and just did something. I don’t hate it either.

There has been some discussion over the past year about putting more public art in and around the waterfront, specifically regarding putting murals on the Connecting Terminal elevator and lighting up a number of the grain elevators along the Buffalo River. Now it appears that the ECHDC also plan on lighting up the Skyway, too.

The story (link above) came out with little fanfare as the lighting process seems to be in the preliminary testing phase. However, I’m glad the ECHDC decided to take this step without giving those against the move time to whine, complain and sue. According to a first hand account, the setup is very basic at this point. More from friend and 2ITB reader Andrew Kulyk:

Light sources are on portable stands and reflect onto the supports. I assume the permanent lighting will be somehow affixed to the concrete itself. Three supports are lit up in the testing phase and change colors. Looks totally awesome.

Only a few support legs are lit at this point. That is ok, obviously those in charge have decided that if the Skyway won’t be leaving anytime soon, let it become part of the neighborhood. The Peace Bridge looks fantastic bathed in changing LED lights, I don’t expect the Skyway to turn into the Golden Gate, but the LEDs will at least help turn a hulking barrier into something less obstructive than before. Continue reading

Getting behind lighting the grain elevators

Yesterday’s post on the decision to accept proposals for a children’s museum at Canalside was particularly venomous. There was a bit of Canalside news that came out yesterday afternoon that I did want to address.

It would seem that ECHDC is prepared to shell out some dough to light up grain elevators along Buffalo’s waterfront. Without coming across as a complete hypocrite, I have to say the plan to light the grain elevators is a good one. I’m a pretty well documented opponent of the lighter, quicker, cheaper approach, but this is an instance where the strategy makes sense.

The grain elevators that line the Buffalo River are great cathedrals of Buffalo’s industrial past. They’re so formidable that they’re virtually impossible to demolish – without ridiculous overhead – and they possess a “rugged masculinity” in terms of architecture. The simple fact that these behemoths are so massive and immovable makes them a potential albatross for waterfront development. Finding a simple use of them is nearly the only solution.

A very rough mock-up of how the Connecting Terminal Elevator could look.

There are options out there for utilizing the elevators for something other than a movie screen. However, such plans would be ridiculously expensive and quite difficult to pull off. Personally, I’d love to see the Connecting Terminal (pictured) serve as the terminus for a full tour of Buffalo’s grain elevators. If possible, the roof could be reinforced and renovated to provide the foundation for a grain elevator museum with unparalleled views of the lake, river and city. The museum would be the starting and ending point for a tour that would take people up the river through to elevator alley to teach all about the history of the grain elevator in Buffalo and around the country. Not to mention, a museum on top of the Connecting Terminal would look fantastic.

For the time being, it would seem as if public art and LED lighting will have to do regarding the use of Buffalo’s grain elevators. Like I said, this is a great decision.

Continue reading