The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation joined forces last night with Foit-Albert and world-renowned Ambiances Design Productions from Montreal to project a light show onto Pool Elevator located adjacent to Gallagher Beach at the Outer Harbor. At around 8pm the show got underway with a portion of the elevator illuminated with both static and moving images*. Onlookers were treated with numerous video projections including Niagara Falls and jellyfish in motion, as well as a static image of the Buffalo Sabres' logo. I talked to a number of people at the Outer Harbor who all said that the illumination project exceeded their expectations, and were hoping to see the entire elevator lit one day (along with others).
The lighting of the grain elevator goes a long way towards showcasing these behemoth buildings as iconic structures. When illuminated, the elevators act as giant movie screens that broadcast brilliant images to passersby. As the show was underway, numerous cars pulled over along Fuhrmann Boulevard in order to catch a glimpse of the spectacle. "The transformation of these grain elevators into beautified monuments of Buffalo's past is a metaphor for Governor Cuomo's vision of rebuilding the entire waterfront and bringing back Buffalo," said Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy referring to Governor Cuomo's interest in Buffalo's waterfront developed. "The Governor's progress at Canalside and along the waterfront is quickly gaining momentum and attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors to increasing attractions and activities. Dramatically illuminating these elevators will further resurrect Buffalo's history with a nod to our urban environment and industrial heritage, while drawing more people downtown, leading to private investment and helping realize Governor Cuomo's vision to revitalize Buffalo."
Although the lighting stunt was temporary, the performance was necessary to showcase the potential for the project. A master plan will then be created, which will allow ECHDC to determine scope and timeline to potentially implement semi-permanent and full scale projections** at later dates. "Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation believes it is important to create visually interesting and appealing components along the Buffalo River and waterfront that will attract visitors, but will also make the citizens of Buffalo proud of the rich history and the redevelopment of their waterfront," said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia. "The test lighting of the Pool Elevators that we are seeing is an important step toward that goal, while highlighting the grain elevators as a lasting symbol of the City of Buffalo and region's commercial and industrial might."
It didn't matter where you were watching the show last night, as there was not a bad seat in the house. It was definitely a cool scene and a huge tease... if that was just a test, I can't wait to see the final project.
*Similar projects have been hugely successful in other parts of North America. The Image Mill, installed in Quebec City in 2008 on a temporary basis to celebrate the city's 400th anniversary, was so successful it is now installed on a semi-permanent basis and attracts 200,000 to 300,000 visitors per summer season. -ECHDC
**Barco, an international company headquartered in Belgium that provides visualization and display solutions for professional markets, has loaned ECHDC state-of-the-art projectors for the Buffalo demonstration. Solotech, a Canadian company, is provided the lighting equipment. --ECHDC
Images #2 and #3 and #4 provided by Mark Swacha and Emily Roehl