Buffalo's waterfront village

Material Information

Buffalo's waterfront village
Alternate title:
Buffalo waterfront village
Schwarckopf, Kevin T
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
158 leaves : illustrations, charts, maps, color photographs, plans ; 28 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
City planning -- New York (State) -- Buffalo ( lcsh )
City planning -- New York (State) ( lcsh )
Real estate development -- New York (State) -- Buffalo ( lcsh )
Neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Buffalo ( lcsh )
City planning ( fast )
Neighborhoods ( fast )
Real estate development ( fast )
New York (State) ( fast )
New York (State) -- Buffalo ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references.
General Note:
On cover: Buffalo waterfront village.
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Architecture, College of Design and Planning.
Statement of Responsibility:
Kevin T. Schwarckopf.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
12258069 ( OCLC )
LD1190.A72 1985 .S393 ( lcc )

Full Text


Buffalo's Waterfront Village
an Architectural Thesis presented to the College of Design and Planning, University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Architecture
Kevin T. Schwarckopf May 1985 ^

The Thesis of
Kevin T. Schwarckopf is approved.
Committee -chairman
University of Colorado at Denver May 1985

Table of Contents
1. ) Introduction
a. ) Project Purpose
b. ) Thesis Statement
2. ) Project History
3. ) Participants
4. ) Scope of the Program
5. ) Summary
a. ) human factors
b. ) physical factors
c. ) external factors
a. ) human factors
b. ) physical factors
c. ) external factors

a.) human factors B.) physical factors
c.) external factors
1. ) Master Plan for the Site
2. ) Building design

I would like to dedicate this thesis to my family, without whose support and understanding would have made reaching this level of education impossible.
I would like to thank all my advisors for their time and knowledge. They are:
Gary Long Paul Sapporito David Frieder Davis Holder
Major Advisor -Theory
Theory and Detail
Structure, Mechanical systems and Site engineering


This thesis deals with the design of the completion of Waterfront Village in Buffalo, N.Y. Waterfront Village is exactly as the name implies: a village being developed along a 66 acre site on Lake Erie. The site is the largest piece of undeveloped land in the city of Buffalo, and a key to its revitalization.
Mayor James D. Griffin:
"During my administration, one of Buffalo's major under developed resources, 'its waterfront, has been the focus of intensive planning and development. We are only beginning to enjoy the benefits of Buffalo's location on the shores of Lake Erie. People can stroll, jog or bike along the water. They can sail their boats from the marina and enjoy a day of crusing or fishing along Lake Erie. And they can enjoy a snack or full-course meal at our harborside restaurants. The development of the Buffalo's Waterfront Village is based on a recognition that we must make this great economic and recreational asset a vital part of our community life."
The site is along a harbor, with the Erie Basin Marina between it and the lake, enclosing the
harbor. A portion of the village is already
constructed, and much, much more is in the planning stage. At full development, some 400 housing units will be incorporated with retail, office, and restaurants. The reasons for my special interest in this project revolve around the actual proposals for the site. Buffalo needs for this to be a special
place, and by the nature of the haphazard
development already in progress, it will not reach its potential.

Since I have lived virtually all my life in and around Buffalo, this project has special importance to me. I feel that six general questions need to be addressed successfully for the site to reach its potential:
1. ) How can the opportunity to enjoy the waterfront experience be capitalized?
2. ) How can new development relate the four very diverse existing buildings to create a unified village?
3. ) How can the harsh shifts in weather be handled to allow year round activity?
4. ) How should the development relate to the theater district and light rail transit mall located 7 blocks away?
5. ) Is symbolism or inconography desired, and if so, how can it be used to delineate the village from the water and the city?
perhaps most importantly:
6. ) How should a multi-use development be designed to evoke lively active spaces both day and night?

The urban environment has changed remarkably over the years. Two great advances have drastically changed the conditions of cities from ancient times to the present. As Constantinos Doxiadis states (ca. 1937) :
" the first concerns building materials. Until the beginning of this century man built with clay and stone, wood and marble, natural materials whose size and weight determined the scale and form of buildings. Today, the increasing industrialized production of new building materials has given man the freedom to create structures of whatever scale and form he may desire. The second advance concerns transportation. Until the last century man could proceed beyond the pedestrian range only with the help of animals. Today mechanized transportation reigns supreme, and is completely altering the form and scale of our cities." 1
The two most directly affected pieces of the urban space have been open spaces and land use, which have moved from human oriented to function oriented. This thesis will deal with the creation of human oriented urban space, and exploring ways new development can draw from the old basic theories of organization, planning and proportion. My thesis project, a multi use village development, is such that open space, existing buildings, and land use are of critical importance.
Urban open spaces, a key element to urban design, have been drastically altered over the years both in function and aesthetic quality.
Originally, open spaces were used for community meetings: religious, commercial, or governmental. Occasionally there was more than one open space, specialized for an activity, but often the space was used for all the activities and meetings.

In the Middle Eastern Cities of 4000 years ago, the town squares were separated physically and functionally. The temple squares were walled off, and the market square was blended to the environment.
The Greeks, meanwhile, were developing sophisticated building types, by inter-mingling functions. It was possible to be more richly human and participate in a far greater number and variety of human activities. The city developed close proximity of open spaces to working and living quarters, which made a richer common life possible. The open spaces reflected a view of man's place in reality that was more complicated than before.-Doxiadis stated that the Greek system of architectural spacing had the effect of satisfying man and uplifting his spirit as he entered the public space. "The human scale", he concluded, was the secret of creating the effect. The uniform system in the locating of building spaces was based on principles of human cognition. The organizing principles were based not on the orthagonal grid, but on polar coordinates: human viewpoints and proportion. 3
New possibilities for open space were further emphasized by the Romans in the following ways: outdoor but totally enclosed rooms, using shapes other than squares, making streets themselves special, often by using continuous columns; and developing ideas of common recreational open spaces (theaters, stadiums, amphitheatres, etc.).
The next period was emphasized by a falling off of designed places and spaces, which did not change until the Baroque period again regularized open spaces, and dramatized the city. The new open spaces related to the new theories and practices of planning, and the development of

wheeled transportation. The open spaces of the city became again a theater for the newly vivid urban life. Stores at the street level, with elegant residences above, typically bordered the plazas, and outdoor gathering areas. The idea of integrated building uses was prevalent again, picking up where the Greeks and Romans left off.
These ideas were brought to the New World. Spanish settlements were organized around a plaza as prescribed in the laws of the Indies. English settlements mirrored England in the United States. Philadelphia, and Savannah were based on new English towns, while New England was based on the older organizations.
The Industrial Revolution followed and virtually destroyed the gentle and idealistic agrarian urbanism. With the advent of zoning laws, functional segregation was the rule, instead of the exception. Since the revolution, we are getting back to the concept of important lively open spaces, and reform movements to create urban parks date back to 1830. Just recently, however, the United States is creating great urban open spaces (Rockefeller Center, harbor Place in Baltimore, Ghiardelli Square in San Francisco), mostly in this century. They however don't compare to the great urban spaces of Europe (St. Peter's Square, Piazza de San Marco, and the Piazza Navona). 4
The new urban environments are often being overwhelmed by automobiles and monumental scale buildings, surrounding open spaces, and uprooting the traditional human scale qualities of such spaces. I wish to design for these forgotten qualities in this thesis.
Buildings, before the technological advancements of recent history, created a scale and form inherent to them and their materials. This was because of the logic of construction determined by the materials physical chacteristics.

This logic is being seen less and less today, with the advanced technology at our disposal, and is resulting in scales, and proportions uncomfortable to the human being. I wish to design pieces of architecture in this thesis that responds to the human being.
This leads me to the means to accomplish these goals. The following are two hypothesis that will help me do just that:
1. ) The Greek system of Architectural spacing and proportion is an appropriate tool to organize, unify, and humanize.
2. ) The inherent visual size and weight of materials determines architectural scale, form, and unity.
(after the Columbian Exposition) "The influence of the exposition on architecture will be to inspire a reversion toward the pure ideal of the ancients. We have had ... rather contempt for the classics. Men evolved new ideas, ... but action and reaction are equal, ... designers will be obliged to abandon their incoherent originalities and study the ancient master's of buildings ..." 5
"Science, method ... the ART of doing things: never has it shackled talent or imprisoned the muse. On the contrary, that, precisely is expression. ART is the manner of doing." 6
"The 'Modulor' is a working tool, a scale to be used in composition... for the mass production of manufactured articles, and also for the creation, through unity, of great symphonic works of architecture."

The Greek proportioning system emphasized the human scale and human cognition. The aesthetic form was created by man to give pleasure to man. Each group of structures were placed so as to be enjoyed from every viewpoint. Voids as well as masses held their form. Especially important was its adept ability to organize new structure in a harmonious fashion with existing buildings, some generations old. In effect, it seems to be "the" tool considering my goals and the circumstances, the circumstances being: four existing structures sporadically placed on site, including a broad variety of materials. Obviously, the unity of spaces will be dealt with by way of the Greek system, but materials are another matter.
Unity of materials will have to be derived through their application and not through similarity, due to the variety of existing materials (concrete, stucco, brick, and wood timber). The traditional, classical idea of trying to let materials "do what they want to do" will not only create a human scale, but will unify the development.
Separate from the architecture, per se, but integral in this thesis is the concept of land use. As stated before, it has undergone a transformation.
Land use, probably at its most desirable in ancient Greece, has decayed for many reasons. The most important, and ironic reason, is the overuse of the tool designed to correct the problem: zoning. It was dramatically needed at the time of its inception, but has overstepped its intentions.
"The city was classified according to 'sacred and profane land uses', all the 'better' people being isolated from the less fortunate, the 'good' stores from the less expensive, etc. ... The result of such policies was the creation of whole districts of

monochromatic population, and violent diurnal fluctuations. ... A really wise zoning policy would recognize that there is an upper limit, a kind of saturation point, beyond which, no single type of tenancy ought to be permitted to effloresce. A viable neighborhood requires diversity. The central economic function of the city is that it affords man three essentials to civilized existance: proximity, predictability, and option." 8
In other words, integration, not separation:
"In general, the Functionalist approach led to a pronounced differentiation of function and forms ... Functionalist architecture easily degenerated into a machine-like juxtaposition of separate parts. This weakness is less strongly felt in the works of the truly creative architects of the period ... who understood the integrating power of the concept of open space. One class of spatial organization however, is almost totally lacking in Functionalist Architecture: topological propertiesare obviously closely related to meanings such as elementary enclosure, palpableness, environmental warmth, and the more general "variations on a theme". In the past these meanings were concretized in terms of urban squares and streets, bordered by continuous rows of related but varied, buildings, and by intimate interior spaces." 8
For these reasons, my thesis will be an integrated, mixed use village design, to try to capture that variety and activity.

1. ) Doxiadis, Constantinos, Architectural Space jn Ancient Greece (MIT press, Cambridge, Mass.) 1972
2. ) Cooper Hewitt Museum,
Smithsonian Institute National Museum of Design, Urban Open Spaces, (Rizzoli International Pub., N.Y., N.Y.) 1981
3. ) op. cit., #1
4. ) op. cit., #2
5. ) Fitch, James, American Building
- the Historical Forces That Shaped _U, (Houghton
Mifflin, Boston, Mass.) 2nd ed. 1975, pg. 212
6. Le Corbusier, The Modulor 1 and 2, (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.) 1980
pg. 81
7. ) ibid., pg. 185
8. ) Norberg-Schulz, Christian, Meaning in Western Architecture, (Rizzoli International Pub., Cambridge, Mass.) 1981, pg. 200
9. ) op. cit., #5, pgs. 287-8

History of Buffalo:
"History will generally be more interesting when it is attached to a particular place, but there are a few events which, like genes, have influenced the growth of a city." 1 I feel it is important to mention these events to help one better understand Buffalo, called the Queen city, and city of good neighbors.
early 1700's : Buffalo derives its name from Indians friendly to French in the area. They called a site close by Buf fleu, or beautiful river.
1790's : Holland Land company bought a large parcel of land in western New York, and planned its development.
1804 : Joseph Ellicott developed the idea of a radiating street plan for the city.
1825 : The entrance to Buffalo harbor was cleared of a sandbar by citizens, making Buffalo acceptable as a terminus for the Erie Canal.
1842 : Joseph Dart and Robert Dunbar built the first steam powered elevator lift. Its use in grain elevators made Buffalo the largest grain port of the 1850's.
1868 : Frederick Law Olmstead created a park system which influenced the character of its neighborhoods.
1896 : Electric power became available from Niagara Falls.
1901 : Hosted the Pan American Exposition which influenced new architecture, some of which still stands today.
1904 : Frank Lloyd Wright designs the Darwin Martin home on Jewitt parkway.
1914 : World War I increases the already large flow of immigrants to the area.
1927 : The Peace Bridge commemorating 100 years of peace with Canada was built.

Architecturally, Buffalo has a rich history displaying some of the best works of H.H. Richardson, Louis Sullivan, F.L. Wright, and Eliel Saarinen. Le Corbusier recognized the grain elevators along the waterfront as an example of modern principles he was trying to establish. These principles later became the International School of Architecture.
There is a history of achievement and architecture in this city, of which the waterfront has been an important part. The first Erie Canal barges, laden with goods and immigrants passed through its harbor. Later grain and manufactured goods were shipped through its port in such large numbers, Buffalo was once the nation's sixth largest port. It has been in decline in recent years, as it is no longer a high volume port. New uses are being investigated and developed for the waterfront, and essentially that is what this thesis is all about.
The actual site has many positive attributes other than its location along the water. It is a 15 minute walk from 44,000 jobs in the central business district; a 10 minute walk from 4 major department stores; a 15 minute walk from from the new convention center; a 5 minute walk from Memorial Auditorium; and a 15 minute walk from city and county offices. Already developed on the site is 125,000 sf of office space, a 210 seat seafood restaurant, and 50 townhouses, at a total cost of $17.3 million. There is a plaza which features a gazebo overlooking the water, and a 5 story chiming Swiss clock tower. There is a bandshell and seating for outdoor concerts in adjacent LaSalle park. The Naval Serviceman's park, with its museum and vessel exhibit, and the 300 slip Erie Basin Marina, with public launching ramps, surround the village.
The site can become a strong anchor for the entire Buffalo downtown, serving as a catalyst to generate other positive actions in the central business district. It can serve as a real alternative to suburban sprawl in the Erie County region.

The Urban Renewal Agency, and City planning board developed guidelines as to the uses, limits, and restrictions of development on the site.
Current developers:
Pioneer Pyramid Group: office buildings
Specialty Restaurants, Inc.: restaurant
Peterson Fornaserio Partnership: townhouses
Marano-Marc Equity Partnership: townhouses
Jeffersonian Corp.: townhouses
Albert Randaccio Builder, Inc.: townhouses
Balling/Mahran Assoc.: townhouses
A good portion of the residents will be homeowners and not renters. It is important that many have a stake in the community. The market is for 1 to 3 bedroom households in the middle to upper middle class. The retail and restaurant portions are expected to draw from the entire region. A variety of restaurant types are planned to draw a luncheon trade, attracting some business from the CBD. The retail is for residents, visitors and tourists, and will gear itself for specialty items. Again the upper middle class is the target group.

The program is organized to completely cover all the issues that may have implications to my design, divided into three categories: human,
physical and external. The topics to be covered, in some fashion, are as follows:
human factors: activities behavior organization demographics attitudes and values interactions social forces political forces quality perceptions preferences
physical factors: location site
circulation support services systems structure materials environment activity settings spaces
external factors: topography climate costs/budget legal restrictions
The goals and objectives of the city of Buffalo for the site and the city, the existing givens (ascertainments), and the city's general predictions will be disclosed incorporating the above categories. It is done in this fashion so all the pertinent issues will be discussed along with their implications to the design of the village. Superimposing my goals,

objective and thesis on this data, recommendations for design (also subdivided into the three categories) will be generated. This program, due to the size of the project, will not deal with detailed subject matter such as: furniture arrangement, specific cost analysis or interior finishes. Certain issues do have priority and they are as follows: activity,
organization, interaction, location, spaces, uses, activity settings, legal restrictions, and climate.

This thesis in basic terms is a mixed-use development. However, the location and importance of the site make it much more than that. The city was once very active around, and involved with the waterfront. With the decline of the import, and export shipping trades, and with the physical separation of it from the city by the highways, the waterfront became the forgotten piece of the city. Any efforts to develop it until now have not made the economic and social impact necessary to make it a vibrant, populous part of the city. These developments (parks, small marinas) did not attract a year round resident, and often were targeted just for summer tourism, and recreation. The Erie Basin Marina, while in the same vein, is large enough and accessible enough, to attract a large number of people outside of tourists, even into the spring and fall. The area is calling for a resident population, and a vibrant atmosphere especially at night. The existing amenities are wonderful, and make the location prime for village development. This thesis will be an effort to design that village, if only part of it in detail. I will try to rekindle the excitement of the waterfront that has all but died, to transform it into a "people" place, and to return the importance to the waterfront it historically has had. With such an architecturally rich city as a backdrop, and the site acting as a natural stage, trying to achieve this using an ancient humanistic proportioning system (in lieu of modern orthagonal techniques) should be a dynamic step in Buffalo's revitalization.

goals & objectives

human factors

shopping, recreation, living, working, eating, and recreation including: dancing, tennis, skating, swimming, chess, and sailing
implication: there are many separate activities,
which demand an extensive infrastructure.
sightseeing, lively recreational exertion, social interactions, relaxing, and comfortable living
implication: the variety of behaviors and actions imply various zones of privacy and exposure.
homeowners, renters, employees, shoppers, eaters, and tourists
heirarchy: most important
residents who are homeowners residents who are renting office employees retail and restaurant users tourists
least important all are important, however
implication: spaces for resident users should be
emphasized and designed in the most detail
The users are expected to number 5000 daily in patrons of the retain center. The housing is geared to attract 600 people, and the restaurants

should be able to seat 400 people. The target market for the development are people in 45,000 salary and over range. The tourists will be of varied economic groups, with varied backgrounds. The residents will be used to some of the finer things in life, but at the same time are Buffalonians, and can deal with the winter weather. The major reason for residing in this village will be the variety of amenities available to those who choose to do so.
implications: the community should provide all the services necessary for residents, as well as tourists, from recreation to civic functions.
The attitude of the idealists is to make this a "jewel" of a city.
implications: high quality construction and design should be implemented.
1. city of Buffalo
2. resident of the village
3. tourists
4. offices of the village
5. retail
6. restaurants
implications: circulation and access must be clear and comprehensive; the restaurant and retail portions seem to be the hub of the relationships.

An interaction of cultures is foreseen and socially, the development will act as a gathering place for the entire community. However, private areas are just as essential as the public spaces.
implications: open spaces should be used as focal points between uses.
"It is essential that there be a public/private partnership. The public partner has made commitments necessary to develop waterfront village in such a way to increase the city's tax base and employment base for the benefit of all the citizens. It is necessary for the private sector to join the city in this worthwhile program. What is needed is to create a non-profit community development corporation made of leaders from the public and private sectors. Such a corporation would have the responsibility to carry out the development and have the overall responsibility for the design and implementation of the program."
implications: I am assuming the role of the non
profit corporation to comprehensively design and implement the organization and architecture for the site.
the goals for the resident are:
comfort in the $120-130,000 price range convenience to all amenities
the goals for the retail are:
marketable material in specialty categories
security is of utmost importance
accessible to open spaces, circulation, and the

the goals for the restaurants are:
high standard of comfort to all users, especially the evening crowd
access to all participants of the village community convenience to all, expecially pedestrian shoppers
implications: integration is essential.
The development will be a clean, airy, attractive, high class community, with great views and attractions. Pedestrian life will be emphasized.
implications: pedestrian paths should have
experiences (views, attractions, spaces, etc.) along their length.
young professionals, single or married, to develop a lively, active atmosphere
implications: active social spaces (nightclubs, bars, recreation areas) should be emphasized

physical factors

As a consequence of the history of the industrial growth of the area, downtown Buffalo is situated asymetrically to the urbanized area of the region. It is the goal of the central business district to overcome its weak position to tap potential retail markets. This is possible by improving downtown's accessibility to the region, and by creating attractions. The potential amenity of proximity to the lake is an asset which should be exploited.
implication: attractive and accessible retail and commercial portions are a must
Buffalo is aware that its future lies in the city center downtown. If it is to remain fiscally solvent, it has to offer the high level of services necessary to make it a humane and attractive place to live. Developing downtown to its full potential is the key to this process. It must be strong, active and visually exciting. Specifically, the major goals of the city are:
1. ) to increase the number and variety of jobs available downtown;
2. ) to increase residential opportunities close to jobs and social activities;
3. ) to increase city tax revenue;
4. ) to maintain downtown's role as administrative center of the region;
5. ) to raise the level and increase the scope of downtown services for the Buffalo Metropolitan area;
6. ) to attract a diversified mix of mutually supporting activities, businesses and people as possible;
7. ) to seek out and promote programs and projects in the city and region that are compatible with downtown goals.

The goals of Waterfront Village are to:
1. ) create a waterfront village development unique to the region;
2. ) stimulate the economic market in the
3. ) attract private investment;
4. ) provide new choices to the citizens;
5. ) enhance the image of Buffalo;
6. ) provide new opportunities to businesses;
7. ) increase the tax base substantially;
8. ) develop to a large enough scale to make a real impact;
implication: a complete village design should be implemented with all possible uses included, all able to handle substantial amounts of activity and business.
To provide an easily accessible pedestrian village that has direct connections to the city and surrounding amenities by foot and automobile.
implication: a separate system of pedestrian and automobile movement should be considered.
To capitalize on the visual excitement offered: lakefront sites sailing, sunsets, etc.; and the cityscape in the opposite direction.
implication: perhaps the development has no

To provide architectural spaces, open or enclosed, which promotes all the activities essential for the community.
implication: foliage and street furniture should be used extensively in the design of these spaces to promote activity
the following is the proposal for the site by the city of Buffalo, and the developers: (when
office space............................ 264,000 sf
retail space
specialty........................... 30,000 sf
convenience ........................ 20,000 sf
restaurants.............................. 10,000 sf
high density....................... 250,000 sf
townhouse.......................... 200,000 sf
marine.............................. 150-200 slips
implication: The possibility of fully capitalizing on the opportunities present in the commercial and recreational areas seems wasted; a public marina does not seem appropriate across from a larger public marina.

1. ) residences
2. ) office
3. ) marina
4. ) restaurants
5. ) retail
implication: clear zones of privacy are not
delineated in the city's plans and should be.

external factors

To utilize the lack of topographical variation to enhance pedestrian circulation and traffic flow, and to enhance area interactions.
implication: conversely, the separation of spaces and uses (if desired) could be achieved by select man-made topographical changes, i.e., berms or a stepped landscape.
To make this development a year round entity despite the vast variations in temperature, and large snow accumulation in winter.
implication: investigate ways of enclosing important spaces and paths that should be open to the air in summer months; perhaps attract people with winter happenings


human factors

living in condominiums, eating and dancing in a seafood restaurant/night club, and working in offices.
Presently it is an active area in spots (because of the sparse development), but only in the summer. The restaurant business slows in the winter and the residents consider their investment as going towards a summer home.
implication: the behavioral image is in direct need of change, by architectural means
The white collar socio-economic group is the present majority of the users.
There is an expectant, yet hesitant attitude towards Waterfront Village. Many don't fully believe it will ever be complete. However, the present residents value the area and have a certain pride about the location. As evidenced by the immense popularity of the Erie Basin Marina, many visitors would like to become a part of the community.

This is emphasized presently. The existing condominiums are selling for a minimum of $150,000. Crawdaddy's restaurant is expensive, both to eat at and relax in. The quality of construction, to this point has also been very fine, with great attention placed on connections and details. The waterfront views are maximized in all the buildings.
implications: the views of the city have not been emphasized, which seems to be a lack of realizing potential.
This is, at present, a low crime neighborhood principally because it is a major attraction to people, and because of the sparse residential development.
implication: a village police station does not seem to have justification
Presently, access is poor. There is only one vehicular access to the site and it ends in a cul de sac.
implication: more access points must be added, and excellent potential spots are at the waterfront school, and at LaSalle park.
This is very well defined now, almost too much so public and private with no interface
Presently it is very poor. There are no commercial amenities in close proximity to the dwellings. It is not convenient to the city, either, with only the one access/exit route.


physical factors

The Buffalo Metropolitan area is located on the western edge of New York along Lake Erie. It has easy access to Canada, Niagara Falls, and is 80 miles from the Pennsylvania border. It is laid out in a radiating fashion to the North, East, and South. It in many ways is a dense collection of suburbs, organized around a downtown hub.
implication: traffic flow for potential users could be extremely high

Regional Map

Waterfront Village is located on the Southwestern edge of the city, very close to the downtown central business district. Of particular importance to the site (in terms of context and amenities) are the following structures and developments:
1.) Shoreline apartments lowrise housing with a stepped profile and garden courts; designed by Paul Rudolph.
2.) City Hall, and the McKinley Monument in Niagara Square the square was laid out by Joseph Ellicott as the hub of the city. In the middle is the monument to President McKinley, who was assisanated in Buffalo; City Hall was designed by Dietel and Wade, and is considered one of the outstanding Art Deco public buildings in this country; it has a carved frieze and colorful mosaics high above the ground.

3.) WKBW television studios designed by Stieglitz, Stieglitz and Tries; it has a brushed stainless steel exterior, with an elaborate "energy responsible" environmental system.
4.) County Hall designed by Andrew Warner; the only example in Buffalo of high Victorian Gothic.

5) Prudential Building desinged by Adler and Sullivan; His most mature skyscraper, it is a glorious refinement of the Wainwright building in St. Louis.
6) Marine Midland Center designed by SOM; Buffalo's tallest building emphatically ends the downtown commercial district.

7. ) Naval and Serviceman's Park and Museum designed by Stieglitz, Stieglitz, and Tries; it is a visitor orientation and exhibition center for Naval ships; the building is iron clad and relates well to the destroyer and battleship docked next to it.
8. ) Buffalo Lighthouse built in 1883, it is one of the oldest of such structures on the Great Lakes; it is made of ashlar limestone and blue stone.
implication: diverse architectural elements in the city do not convey a clear context, but old, medium-rise, classical architecture is dominant; the diversity and its relation to the site imply either more diversity or a contiguous design which in some fashion ties the city together from one end the west hub.
4^ |


The site faces South and Southwest, along a calm body of water, across from the Erie Basin Marina. It is bordered by LaSalle Park to the West, by an elevated highway to the North, and by Erie Street to the East. Buildings in the immediate area of particular importance (in terms of context or amenities) are:
1. ) Rivermist condominiums developed by Peterson-Fornaserio; brick is the major material.
2. ) DHarbor Point condominiums developed by Marano-Marc Equity; it is finished, in stucco.

3. ) Pyramid Place office buildings developed by Pioneer Pyramid group; it has precast concrete panels and ribbon windows.
4. ) Crawdaddy's restaurant developed by Specialty Restaurants, Inc.; it is constructed of exposed, treated wood timbers.
5.) Erie Basin Marina designed by DiDonato, Renaldo Associates.

6.) Marine Drive Apartments designed by Backus, Crane and Love; it is privately operated and attractive to downtown employees.
7.) Buffalo Hilton Hotel at the Waterfront designed by Clement Chen and Associates.
8.) Waterfront School and Community Center designed by Hess and Gorey; it is based on Paul Rudolph's housing concept.
9.) Illuminating Gas Company it has a 250 foot facade of brick dressed with ashlar masonry.
implication: the great disparity of the new versus the very old implies an integrated mesh: new materials working in old, logical fashions.

The following 6 pages contain all the circulation information for the city and the site.



The following diagram contains the existing parking for the site, and all the access points; the next 4 diagrams are the existing utility locations.



The parking, and the plaza are lit all night
The predominant materials on the site are brick, precast concrete, stucco, and heavy timbers
implication: a relation can be generated by use and not type
The following diagrams are of the predominant land use for the city, and the site

land use


office buildings restaurant/night Townhomes .
2 @ 66,000 sf
club...................... 7,500 sf
......................... 57,000 sf
implications: the way in which the existing uses are arranged begins to organize the site in terms of use and privacy.

external factors

The following 3 pages include the existing contours (basically flat), and the soil analysis
implications: drainage will not be a problem since there is a gentle grade to the lake, with storm sewer drains existing; the soil indicates that the structure will have to bear on the bedrock 35 feet below the surface.


J l_____

typical core sample: landfill site depth-feet
0 moist sand, some silt, trace of slag and gravel
2 moist silt, little gravel, little sand, trace of bricks
4 wet, loose sand, little silt, occasional clay seams
8 wet, loose clayey silt, trace of sand, trace of gravel.
13.5 moist-wet sand, some silt, some slag pieces
20 moist-wet sand, trace of slag and cinders
25 wet sand, silt, some gravel
28.5 moist clayey silt
33 hard, sound, bedded limestone rock
37.5 boring terminated free standing water 7.3 ft (further information-app. C)

The following two pages include all the climatic data in chart form, and a schematic diagram of the solar orientation of the site, along with the prevailing winter and summer winds
sun angle chart:
latitude: 42 deg. 56' N
longitude: 78 deg. 44' W
elevation: 705 feet
solar chart

7062 deg days
94 high temp
K> O low temp
04 bo 00 max rain in 24 hr
'O highest wind
sw dir
24.3 snow max in 24hr
58 days: clear
108 P c
>* VO 'O cl

climatic data


Land use regulations:
The site is an urban renewal area, thus the allowed land uses are as follows:
residential or related
40% of site or 27.84 acres public park or walks
20% or 13.92 acres small marina/recreational development 7% or 4.87 acres street right of way
10% or 6.96 acres commercial mixed use/or related 23% or 16 acres
The site, developing and landscap plans serving the area are subject to the approval of the City of Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency and the City Planning Baord.
permitted uses:
-office building
-neighborhood retail service or center -restaurant, coffee house, ice cream parlor, dinner theater including nightclub or discoteque -hotel, motel, or boatel -parking garage
-television and radio studio and office, excluding high level transmission towers
-health club and/or related activities such as pool, sauna, tennis, handball and squash courts
building heights:
subject to approval of the City of Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency, and the City Planning Board
parking requirements: retail 5.5 spaces/1000 sf
restaurant 1 space/3 patrons
residential 1.5 cars/unit

Building codes:
BOCA basic building codes
-all charts and detailed information on construction fire suppression, and venting in Appendix D.
GENERAL CODES: groups fire rating occup.
theater A1B 3 150
night club art galleries/ A2 3 1000
restaurant A3 2 1500
retail M 3 1666
hotel R1 2 25
multiple family R2 1.5
1-2 family units detached 1-2 R3 .75 300
family units R4 .75
post office B 2 15
guidelines to mixed use:
1. ) requirments of use with the greatest public
safety will apply;
2. ) mixed uses will be completely separated, both
horizontal and verticle by fire separating walls and floors with the rating used being the highest between the uses; or
3. ) mixed uses must be separated by firewalls
having a resistance rating highest among the uses.
codes relating to
parking and building app.
parking spaces
building entry
interior access toilet rooms
the physically handicapped:
see table 1 in App. D
as close to entry as possible
at least 1 accessible; min. width: 5' max. grade: 1:20
access to all floors
at least one to be accessible

water closet compartment
no less than 42" wide, 72" deep swinging door not less than 32"
codes relating to parking lots
access lanes not less than 12' wide
spaces not less than 8' x 18' in area
protection of adjoining property a substantial bumper shall be placed at all interior lot lines
illumination not less than .25 lumens/sf of parking area
codes relating to open wells:
atriums less than 3 stories no smoke control system needed
smoke control system upon detection of fire and smoke: air supply to firefloor, and return air to non-fire floor shut down
atriums less than 55 ft high 6 air change/hr. or 4 ac/hr. when volume is over 600,000 cu. ft.
enclosure separate from adjoining spaces by a 1 hr. fire rating glass walls acceptable when sprinklers are along separation line 6' o.c.
travel distance when means of egress is through the atrium: distance of not greater than 150 feet
exception 3 floors adjacent to it need not be separated but are considered part of its volume

codes relating to natural lighting and ventilation:
Windows and skylights all habitable spaces shall have access to natural light.
window size when used for natural light and vent.: glass area not less than 8% of floor area served, with 50% of glass area available for ventilation.
ceiling heights habitable spaces: min 7'6" halls, corridors, bath, kitchen: min. 7'0"
alcove rooms borrowed light is acceptable
bath, and laundry rooms must be vented
codes relating to open courts:
dimensions min. width: 3 in./ft. of ht. no less than 5' for outer courts no less than 10' for inner courts
area no less than 1.5 x width2
length no greater than 2 x width
access has to be provided
codes relating to means of egress:
exit discharge all exits to discharge with access to a public way
unit width 1 unit 22" .5 unit each additional 12 units
exit design/floor capacity designed for one floor occupancy when serving more than 1
# of exits min. #: 2 for less than 500 people 3 for 500-1000 4 for greater than 1000
buildings with one exit see Appendix D, table 3

access passageways unobstructed access provided for all occupants
dead end corridors not greater than 20' long
corridor width not less than 44" -36" when serving 50 people or less
vestibule distance not greater than 10' from an exit, with the width not greater than 20'
lobby can be a discharge from an exit if there is an automatic fire suppression system
# of doorways if greater than 50 people, 2000 sf: 2 exit doors, with swing in direction of egress -exception: R3
egress ramps headroom: 6'8" landings have min. length: 60" slope: see table 4 in Appendix D capacity and dimensions: see table 2 in Appendix D
interior exit stairway width: min. 44" or 36" if under 50 people min. headroom: 6'8" landing: stair width or greater rise: max. 12' between landings treads and risers: see table 5 in Appendix D stairways must not narrow in direction of exit
codes relating to exit doors in stairways:
width not less than 32"
direction of swing shall swing in the direction of travel or landing; shall not impede more than 1 of the required width
circular stairs min tread width: 10" smaller radius: min. 2 x width of the stairway
enclosure required interior exit stairways shall have highest fire separation of uses involved

codes relating to smoke proof enclosures:
when occupancy is
75' or more above fire veh. access at least one necessary
if fire suppres. system thoughout none are needed
codes relating specifically to public assembly:
skating rinks (interior) shall not be lower than the floor nearest grade
main exits located on a stret front width: to accomodate at least i of total occupant load
levels each level to have access to main level - has other exits of width to accomodate 2/3 of total occupant load at that level, located as far from the main exit as possible - when occupant load is 50 or more at that level, have 2 such exits
with of exit doors max single exit: 42" min double doors: 60"
foyer min.: 1.5 sf/occupant shall not encroach upon the clear of the front exits
length of travel see table 6 in Appendix D
aisle width min.: 36" if serving one aisle 42" if serving two aisle aisle increases 1.5" for every 5' of length towards exits if continental: min.: 44"
aisle spacing 6 seats max. between any seat and the aisle if continental: 29 seats
cross aisles no dead end length of over 20'
aisle gradient max slope: 1 in 8 if steps are thus needed: full aisle width with no isolated steps

seat spacing
seat spacing min: 12" if continental: 18" if 18 seats max. 20" if 18-35 seats 21" if 36-45 seats 22" if 46 seats and on
capacity one person/18"
handicapped see table 7 in Appendix D
codes relating specifically to mercantile uses: Covered malls:
tenant separation each must be separated by a 1 hr. fr.
travel distance max. distance from any point in mall to the exit is 200'
secondary exits when exit travel length in tenant space is more than 100' a 2nd means of egress must be provided
dead end length shall not exceed twice its width
floor area allowance see table 8 in Appendix D
exit access width min.: 66"
mall width min.: 20' min.: 10' clear exit width to a height of 8'
floor/ceiling assembly within multi-level enclosed malls: 1 hr. fr
A1 and A2 use groups can be located so main entry is immediately adjacent to mall entry
automatic fire suppression system necessary
parking structure is a separate building if sep. by a 2 hr. fire wall
access travel see tables 2 & 6 in Appendix D

# of exits
see tble 9 in Appendix D
checkout lanes should have at least 1 36" wide or greater for the
codes relating specifically to residential uses:
private garages if beneath: 1 hr. fr separation
length of access
travel see table 6 in Appendix D
emergency escapes sleeping rooms below the 4th floor shall have means
of egress (window or door) min. open.: 5.7 sf, 24" high, 20" wide exception: R3
access exception: R3
use group R1 and R2 # of units accessible:
1 for 21-99 units
2 for 100 or more
plus 1 for every add. 100
area and
dimensions at least one room more than 150 sf
others not less than 70 sf
min. width: 7' (except kitchens and bath)
natural lighting
and ventilating in R2 interior stairs have windows or skylights
of not less than 10 sf.
the corridors shall have approved means of dissipating smoke
codes relating specifically to the business uses: length of exit
travel see tables 2, 6 and 9 in Appendix D

existing costs:
retail complex: $12 million residential: $121,000/unit
implications: the budget is not a real constraint, since I have no real client


Proposed Major Regional Developments
88 |

retail space



off. space

projected completion dates of:
Mass transit system: 1985 Theater district: 1987


In summary, the city's proposals are acceptable but not ideal. There is little attention to winter use of the site, or winter activities to attract people. The uses proposed do not include nightlife attractions (bars, nightclubs, dinner theaters) and neglect the possibility of attracting travelors via the lake. There is no place for sailors to spend the night, or fully utilize the village. There are no private clubs or marinas proposed, just a public marina which seems unjustified based on the proximity to the Erie Basin Marina. Potential profitability of these type of developments seem excellent, year round.
The use of topography and foliage in the development is nonexistant and needs to be dealt with. These 2 tools could be very effective in developing activity settings, zonal separations, windbreaks, orientation of views, and creating various ambiences.
The lack of any unification of the existing buildings is disturbing and will be a key issue in my design. The separation of all uses is a tremendous loss of potential for the site, and something I will try to correct.

human factors

living: homeowners, some rentals, and some transient living
shopping, working, eating, drinking recreation: strolling, swimming, volleyball, jogging, biking, basketball, ice skating, sailing, rowing, fishing, dancing
relaxation: strolling, playing chess, viewing a play, sightseeing, sunbathing
social, festive community, expected to be an active, popular place
1. ) owners
2. ) renters
3. ) clients
4. ) tourists
young, urban professional, predominantly, with a definite 9-5 workday, and fitness oriented
1. ) residents
2. ) renters
3. ) tourists
4. ) commercial clients

comfort: emphasized in amenity access, and physical attractions
security: secure entries should be designed for the living units in the mixed use area; control poits will be established for the townhouse development access: direct access/entry will be afforded to all living units.
privacy: all living units should have at least one private outdoor space; the townhouses will have private gardens
conveniences: all units in the mixed use section will have private slips
providing activity settings, and a socially oriented use structure is a foremost goal.

physical factors