One of my dreams has always been to see a reuse for the DL&W Terminal. That’s why I was floored when a reader sent me a link to the Gluckman Mayner Architects’ website. Listed under the ‘projects’ tab was a link to a couple potential Albright-Knox Art Gallery expansion concepts (with renderings). The concepts are two totally different designs in two completely different locations. One of the concepts situates the future Albright-Knox expansion along the Buffalo River in the DL&W Terminal (train shed). Wow! Talk about an incredible reuse for the structure. A modern glass structure can be seen extruding to where the former station once resided.
Of course this would be a huge move for the gallery, and an incredible opportunity to capitalize on the growth of the Inner Harbor and the Metro Rail. The cavernous interior of the terminal would be perfect, and access from water and the bike trail would be added bonuses. If you look at the third rendering, you will see that the concept includes a ramp that leads people up to the sprawling second floor deck. The windows have all been replaced, and I would imagine that there would be some sort of elevated walkway that would lead to the HSBC Arena. If that would be the case, then there would be all the reason in the world for the HSBC to open its dining area to the public (on non-Sabres game days). The DL&W location is an incredibly bold and visionary move for the gallery.
The second rendering featured on Gluckman Mayner Architects’ website is more of a modernist concept, but might be tough to compete with the waterfront. Though there would be advantages to have the addition attached to the existing gallery, there doesn’t appear to be as much of a punch. I’m sure that the addition would be a major draw (overlooking Hoyt Lake), but if the architects are looking to appeal to an entire new generation of Buffalonians, I can’t imagine that any design on the existing grounds would be able to compete with a tie-in to the HSBC, the Buffalo River, the Inner Harbor, the Metro Rail, the Casino, the Cobblestone District, and all of the future development that goes along with the area. Then again, there are those who would opt to see a brand new building constructed rather than a reuse of an existing structure. To me, the DL&W design shouts ‘World Class’… just the thought of the gallery utilizing that space… to see the nation’s eyes trained on that building during ‘home’ Sabres’ games… that might just eclipse shots of The Falls that we’ve seen for years. Both designs are comparable in size (roughly 42,000 sq.’), and either way Buffalo would have an exciting expansion scenario for its premiere gallery. The question is, if the gallery goes with one of these concepts, “Do they grow the Museum District, or do they bet on the Inner Harbor?”