Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Buffalo : Architectural Tour
Who knew downtown Buffalo was so beautiful? We certainly didn't until we read in the Globe and Mail travel section about the plethora of historic buildings that have been preserved there, many of them in the Beaux Arts or Art Deco styles. A little research revealed that the group "Preservation Buffalo Niagara" held daily architectural walking tours and suddenly another impromptu road trip was planned.
The roof of the Buffalo Savings Bank (1901), now occupied by M&T Bank, has a dome that is made of terracotta tiles covered with gold leaf. Looking up at the dome from inside the bank, you can see a beautiful work of art displaying each of the signs of the zodiac. The murals on the four pillars supporting the dome promote Industry, Arts, Power and Commerce. A large gilded bowl, with legs shaped like a phoenix with a woman's head, sits on top of the station where bank deposit slips are filled out.
Finally we saw the Frank A. Sedita City Court building that was in the Brutalist style known for its rough, block-like appearance, lack of ornamentation and extensive use of concrete. This style is well named because looking at this building, the term "brutal" pops into your head as you imagine working in this stark, windowless environment. Apparently this was intentional to protect the court rooms and judges chambers from outside distraction. This building stood out in contrast to all the other beautiful flashy buildings surrounding it. After a while it grows on you as it seems to exude a raw, defiant power of its own.