The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens and Erie County Department of Public Works recently announced it selected Wendel, in partnership with lead architects: Bucholz McEvoy Architects, to design its multimillion-dollar expansion.
A press release stated, “Over the past several years, the Botanical Gardens has been working on an expansion plan to meet the community's overwhelming requests to be able to utilize the Botanical Gardens in many ways it is not built for currently. Because of demand and high visitor volume, there is a great need for additional educational classrooms, a more accessible admission area, an expanded gift shop, larger event spaces, enhanced exhibits, and many more amenities that do not exist today. With the selection of Wendel, in partnership with lead architects: Bucholz McEvoy Architects, the project has begun to take shape.”
The expansion and renovation is anticipated to add and recondition more than 25,000 square feet on the Botanical Gardens’ existing campus, maintaining and reusing as much of the existing buildings as possible.
The press release continued, “This project will also engage the current landscape to ensure the impact on the environment is minimal. The expansion and renovation will include many updated exhibits such as a seasonal pollinator exhibit and family play space inside the existing historic conservatory. There will also be expanded outdoor gardens and a new building that will include a grand visitor entrance, state‐of‐the‐art educational classrooms, expanded event spaces, updated grow houses, a larger gift shop, and other much-needed visitor amenities. When completed, the expansion will enhance the overall visitor experience to achieve a sustainable future for the Botanical Gardens for generations to come.”
Botanical Gardens President/CEO Mark Mortenson said, “The engagement with Wendel has allowed us to relook at the building addition within the context of our overall master plan, including the historic assets that we already have on site and our living museum exhibitions. The work ahead will address the needs of all these resources to provide a seamless and updated experience for our community, international botanical gardens enthusiasts, and tourists visiting our region.”
Wendel Senior Landscape Architect Dean Gowen said, “We are thrilled to be a part of expanding and enhancing the 'crown jewel' within historic South Park. This includes the opportunity to complete Olmsted’s original landscape vision for the overall Botanical Gardens experience and integrate the new facility expansion seamlessly into the surrounding park setting.”
Exhibit updates inside the existing conservatory will begin in spring 2024, and construction on the new building will begin in late 2024. The new building will open in late 2026, and the all-encompassing expansion is anticipated to be completed in 2027. The Botanical Gardens will remain open during all renovations and use of the historic conservatory will be minimally disrupted. The Botanical Gardens will keep the public updated as this project progresses.
For more information, visit the Botanical Gardens’ website at buffalogardens.com. The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization with “a mission to deepen the connection between people and plants through beautiful gardens and extraordinary experiences.”