After proposing that the Central Terminal be transitioned into an Artplex, the Adam Sokol architecture team (asap) has come up with another fascinating idea in an entirely different part of the city. Sokol and his team feel that Buffalo’s grain elevators should be bestowed National Park status. The enhanced recognition would be a tourism draw that would help to secure a promising future for the lands surrounding the Buffalo River. This latest proposal is part of the firm’s 202020 project.
Asap feels that there is an opportunity at hand, to recognize Buffalo’s cluster of grain elevators as a collection. The team notes that “Elevator Alley” is the densest collection of concrete grain elevators in the world. By building a series of walkways and bridges, thus connecting the elevators, an international tourist attraction would be the result.
In order to advance the initiative, the hulking elevators would have to be made “people friendly”, by removing debris, thus making them safe to tour. Asap refers to other national historic parks to make its case that the elevators would become tourist attractions, if certain measures were taken to showcase them in a different light. Mill City Museum in Minneapolis is an excellent example of what steps to take. Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex is another good example.
Asap has included various other popular (formerly industrial) tourist destinations in this proposal. They have also pointed to various other projects, such as the Warming Huts along Red River Mutual Trail in Winnipeg, as best practice models from which to draw inspiration. A number of these visionary projects have been featured on BRO over the years.
These are great exercises, which help us to understand what’s possible when it comes to our industrial heritage. For years, the city’s silos and elevators were viewed as eyesores. These days, people are looking at them as assets that could help shape the future of Buffalo.
“202020 is asap’s urbanism think tank, created with a mission to tackle challenging urban problems by collecting and distilling data so as to generate fresh conclusions unfettered by conventional thinking and received wisdom. These data are leveraged to produce proposals that are concise, efficient, strategic, practical, but also visionary, consistently maintaining a high level of graphic quality, design excellence, and precision. We seek to challenge the prevailing decline of urbanism as a practice in the US with compelling proposals for proactive, problem-solving leadership in both the public and private sectors.” – asap