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Courthouse Beacon Getting Glassy

Though delayed, the new Federal Courthouse in downtown Buffalo will soon be receiving its long awaited glass facade. Construction crews were working this past weekend to finish putting up large glass panels over the giant lantern on the tower’s highest point, above the elevator shafts. 

IMG_44420.JPGIMG_1443000.JPGA giant crane is seen shooting panes of glass to a ring of workers around the beacon. It is expected that when complete, this unique feature will become a bright glowing lantern visible as far away as Niagara Falls, gleaming in the downtown skyline.

 
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New York City-based Kohn Pedersen Fox Architects designed the 268,000 sq.ft. building. The firm is also known locally for its designing of M&T Center at Fountain Plaza and the new Buffalo Niagara International Airport terminal.

A Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Rating is anticipated for the courthouse. The building will provide the courts with nine new courtrooms and 11 chambers, as well as 54 enclosed parking spaces. 

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The Courthouse has been previously delayed for numerous accounts. Planned for construction to begin in 2001, the project lacked financing, and was postponed.  It was green-lighted in 2007, and has been under construction since 2008.  Setbacks continued during construction with a major steel shortage, which halted the structure from rising for many months.  Finally, with steel construction finishing up, the outer shell was slowly put up. Installation of the exterior glass has been delayed by complications with testing the panels.  Completion is now expected in February 2011.
 
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The translucent glass panels will function as a solar screen, and as they pick up the rays of sun, architects believe that they will reflect light like a jewel. 
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Construction Photos: Nathan Mroz (Buffalonian4life)
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