The Old First Ward is about to get a bit more funky. Buffalo Benches Project, a directive of Small Built Works Studio (SBWS), is on a mission to create artistic and practical public seating for the burgeoning neighborhood. SBWS is an initiative under the direction of Brad Wales, architect and UB professor.
Over the years we have seen a number of SBWS come to pass. From the custom designed bus shelters in Allentown to a house with a spinning facade, the projects have all added zest and intrigue to various neighborhoods. Now it’s the Old First Ward’s turn to get some SBWS lovin’. Currently architecture and design students are in the midst of putting their ideas to paper (construction and fabrication documents, site drawings) and applying for the appropriate permits. The SBWS group is also in the process of sourcing funding for the benches, as well as scouting for donations.
After the final design phase is finished, work will leap from the studio to real life. The Old First Ward will be the benefactor of a number of unique, artistic, heavy duty benches. According to SBWS members, “Students are working hand in hand with the OFW Community Center to design benches that reflect the history and culture surrounding Silo City and the OFW. These benches have unique designs and will become artistic permanent installations in parks and public spaces in the neighborhood.”
If you would like to make a donation to the cause, there are a couple of things that you can do. You can sponsor a bench, which would then be outfitted with a custom plaque. Or you simply donate a smaller amount, which will combine with other donations needed to build the benches – see website for details. SBWS is also participating in a number of community events, in order to raise awareness and funds for the project.
Ultimately, like Allentown, the Old First Ward will be home to a number of one-of-a-kind locally designed and fabricated functional works of art. The effort will be a welcome addition to all of the other initiatives that are underway in this buzzing historic area.