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2021 AIA Buffalo/WNY Design Awards recognize positive impact of Longshed Building
Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. (ECHDC) announced the Longshed Building was awarded the Community Award at the 2021 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Buffalo/WNY Design Awards.
HHL Architects nominated the building for the local AIA award. The Longshed Building, located on the northern end of the central wharf at Canalside in Buffalo, is a two-story, gabled-roof wooden structure that reflects the site’s history. The building incorporates elements from the Joy and Webster Storehouse, located on the site in the early 1800s.
The award, presented at a Nov. 11 ceremony, was selected by the AIA Buffalo/WNY Awards committee, and recognizes a single project that represents both superior design and positive regional impact. See picture of the Longshed Building here.
“I congratulate HHL Architects and the entire team that worked on the Longshed project for receiving the local chapter of AIA’s Community Award,” ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia said. “The Longshed Building brings us closer to our heritage and instills a sense of pride as our community comes together to watch history come alive. I encourage everyone to visit Canalside to watch the replica of the historic Erie Canal Boat that’s being built at the site – and even volunteer to join the construction crew.”
The new, two-story, 4,500-gross-square-feet, multipurpose building is a homage to the former canal loading/unloading buildings and activities, and today serves as shade and shelter for visitors of Canalside. This LEED-certified building has a wood structural insulated panel (SIP) envelope and cedar exterior wood horizontal Dutch lap and clapboard siding. The interior has vertical cedar wood planking on the walls with an exposed heavy-timber structure.
“This project is highly visible to the community and adds to the value of Canalside as a public space,” said the jury, composed of the AIA Buffalo/WNY Awards committee, in written comments. “The uncomplicated plan of the building allows for its contents, such as the construction of a historic Erie Canal packet boat to be highlighted and elevated.”
HHL Architects partner Matthew W. Meier said, “It was a privilege and an honor to have the HHL Architects team lead the design of one of the first new buildings at the new Canalside boardwalk, particularly one with an homage to the former industrial history of the area, and also with a purposeful community-centric intended use. The fact that constructing a replica Erie Canal vessel will be the first use of the Longshed building is a testament to telling the unique story of the Erie Canal, this terminus site, and that of the rise of Buffalo. I’m so proud of the HHL design staff, our talented consultants: Tredo Engineers, M/E Engineering, HLB Lighting Design, Ravi Engineering and EDR Engineers, to design such a handsome building, and for The Liro Group, Savarino Construction Services, their subcontractors, and particularly Timberbuilt for building a beautiful and great new asset to Buffalo’s waterfront.”
The Longshed Building is currently being used by staff and volunteers from the Buffalo Maritime Center to construct a replica of the 1825 Erie Canal Boat, Seneca Chief, that transported Gov. DeWitt Clinton from Buffalo to New York City to mark the official opening of the Erie Canal. Through 2024, the public will be able to watch the boat being built and also volunteer to join the construction crew. Those wishing to volunteer can visit the Buffalo Maritime Center's website at https://buffalomaritimecenter.org/.
“It’s been an incredible experience building the Erie Canal Boat, Seneca Chief, in the Longshed at Canalside along with our staff, community members and volunteers,” said Brian Trzeciak, executive director of the Buffalo Maritime Center. “The craftsmanship and design of the Longshed is inspiring to those working in this beautiful building and those who are visiting to learn about the Erie Canal and our project. The Buffalo Maritime Center is fortunate to be the first community organization to utilize such a proud icon of Buffalo’s waterfront.”
Once completed, the Erie Canal Boat will be relocated to the Commercial Slip, where the Buffalo Maritime Center will make it available to tourists interested in learning more about the region’s past. The boat will also tour other sections of the Erie Canal system to promote Buffalo and its history. When the Erie Canal Boat project is completed, the Longshed will become a year-round hall that can be used as a flexible multipurpose space for educational and historical programming by cultural organizations or to host large public gatherings. The building will also be a part of the 200th anniversary celebration of the Erie Canal's opening in 2025.