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Could FLW’s Butterfly Wing Bridge replace The Skyway?

Back in December of 2016, I posted on architect David Romero’s colorized renditions of the interior and exterior of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Larkin Administration Building – what the building actually looked like. 

Now, has posted an article on Romero’s skillful advanced techniques of 3-D representations that have resulted in visually accurate images of Wright’s unrealized works. Altogether there are upwards of 600 FLW works that never made it off the drawing board, including the famed architect’s Butterfly Wing Bridge, designed in 1953 for San Francisco. 

I am a great admirer of Wright’s work, so when I contemplate those designs they seem to me of extraordinary beauty,” said Romero, when asked what it means to create these works, so that others can imagine what these structures would have looked like, if they had been built. “It is beautiful to bring those drawings a little closer to the reality of their physical construction, even if that reality is merely virtual or photorealistic, so it is not difficult for me to imagine that same emotion is what many other admirers of Wright’s work feel when they contemplate my renders.”

Years ago, a number of FLW fans in Buffalo were bandying about the idea that the FLW Butterfly Bridge could replace The Peace Bridge. That was when there were talks of a Signature Bridge being built, which obviously never happened.

Interestingly enough, a reader passed along this CityLab article, stating that the FLW Butterfly Wing Bridge might be the perfect replacement for The Skyway, if/when it is dismantled. 

Currently, there is a competition underway, to come up with the future best use for The Skyway. It would be interesting to know if anyone has previously considered whether the FLW Butterfly Bridge might fit the scale of The Skyway’s current footprint. While there would no longer be a need for the automobile element, the bridge could be dedicated to ped-cyclists. What is most magical about this bridge is the central butterfly wing-shaped park that resides smack in the middle. Can you imagine taking a bike ride to visit a park in the middle of an architecturally significant bridge?

Buffalo has already realized a number of FLW’s architectural visions that never came to fruition during his lifetime, including a boathouse, a filling station, and a mausoleum. We also have a number of Wright’s iconic buildings in our architectural canon. And maybe someday, we might even see the rebuilding of the doomed Administration Building? Who knows. What I do know is that this is another one of those opportunities that should at least be considered, in the same vein as the other design submissions that are currently rolling in.

And if not the bridge, there are a bunch of other unrealized/desecrated FLW designs that would be perfect for Buffalo’s developing landscape.

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Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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