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My Favorite Buildings: Rounding the Bend

This
installment of my long running “favorites” series focuses on a quiet
little building that is a big contributor to one of Buffalo’s most prominent
streetscapes.  The building is at One Niagara Square.  It was
designed by Buffalo’s prolific master architect E. B. Green, and once served as
his office.  I gave a little taste of this beauty a week ago in this story, Beautiful Little Things,
 that highlighted a delightful set of
colorful tile sculptures at its base.  

The building
has many wonderful carvings and subtle details that add tremendous richness to
the street without hitting you over the head.  This one does not jump out
at you. It is the kind of building that weaves the city together.  It
sneaks up on your consciousness.

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I love how
it fills its oddly shaped lot.  It occupies a wedge of property formed
when Niagara Street warps into Niagara Square.  The building bends along
with the street to tie together facades of adjoining structures. A broad arcade
of Moorish style arches enlivens the street level, creating an ever-changing
and inviting facade as you walk by.

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Developers
today tend to shy away from unusually shaped parcels like this.  These
lots demand a lot of creativity to take advantage of their special character. I
was recently in a new condo building constructed on a triangular lot. When I
asked the realtor to see one of the apartments at the point of the building she
practically broke out in a sweat.  “Well,” she said, “you
do know that this is a non standard plan?”  I assured her that I knew
what I was doing. She wanted to make sure I would be satisfied where the TV
would need to be placed (true story).

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One Niagara
was unfortunately modified in the 1960’s when a beautiful tile roof was removed
in favor of a lackluster third floor. Even so, the building holds its own.  While
taking pictures of the building, I ended up talking to a layer who has an
office inside.  I got the impression that he owned the building and that
he was unhappy with the third floor addition.  Perhaps it will be gone
soon?

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Top image
is from
Buffalo as an Architectural Museum
where you can also see more on
One Niagara.

Written by David Steele

David Steele

Architect ( a real one, not just the armchair type), author of "Buffalo, Architecture in the American Forgotten Land" ( www.blurb.com ), lover of great spaces, hater of sprawl and waste,
advocate for a better way of doing things.

View All Articles by David Steele
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