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ModernWNY 2021

Buffalo is a city renowned for its architecture. There was a time when this city erected some of the finest architectural works in the world. Unfortunately, in recent years, we have not upheld those same values, as building designs have become rather homogenized, looking more like assimilated Lego construction.

As a way to pay homage to WNY’s renowned designers, architects, builders, and dreamers that bestowed upon us our coveted modernist building stock – think Kleinhans Music Hall (designed by Eliel Saarinen and Eero Saarinen), the brutalist City Court Building (like it or not), and Paul Rudolph’s Shoreline Apartments (oh wait, we knocked those down) – Preservation Buffalo Niagara (PBN) presents ModernWNY 2021.

“This year, from September 13 to September 18, ModernWNY will strive to celebrate and highlight the evolution of modernism in the area via two self-guided tours, two in-person tours, and one virtual lecture.” – PBN

ModernWNY 2021 Event Lineup

Drive Yourself MODern 2021

Self-Guided Driving Tour Ongoing
$25 PBN Members / $30 General Public

PBN’s Drive Yourself MODern is a 14-stop widespread self-guided driving tour which highlights some of the many fine examples of modern-era architecture throughout Western New York. From James H. Johnson and Tom Hamilton’s St. John the Baptist Church in Lockport to Pfohl, Roberts and Biggie’s City Court Building in Buffalo, experience a vast range of modern-era architectural styles.

A Modern Man: The Works of Robert T. Coles

Self-Guided Tour
$25 PBN Members / $30 General Public

Robert Traynham Coles is known for his focus on public buildings designed to serve their local communities. From the Frank E. Merriweather Jr. Library, modeled after an African village, to the Brutalist-style Utica metro rail station, discover the work of the master architect in this self-guided tour of 22 Coles-designed sites in WNY. During September, get your Robert T. Coles travelogue and experience the mark that this pioneering African American architect left on our region.

The ABCs of Modernism Virtual Lecture

September 13 | 6:00PM – 8:00PM $10 Suggested Donation

On September 13, join Christiana Limniatis for the ABC’s of Modernism and learn why “B is for Brutalism”. This virtual lecture will expand on the terminology, key people, and key places of modernism and leave you sure of why exactly:

A is for asymmetrical
C is for cantilevered projections G is for Googie
J is for James H. Johnson N is for New Formalism O is for Organic houses

Delaware Acres Walking Tour

September 15 | 6:00PM – 8:00PM
$20 PBN Members / $25 General Public
$10 Delaware Acres Travelogue Add-On

Once touted by realtors for its property placements and moderate prices and considered to be the ideal location for suburban homes in the city, Delaware Acres (one of the original subdivision names for the neighborhood north of Delaware Park) is an area richly appreciated in Buffalo’s history. Join Preservation Buffalo Niagara on September 15 for this guided walking tour which will explore its beginning as a notable piece of Buffalo’s built landscape.

*Please be informed that social distancing policies will be in effect.

Modern Niagara Falls Walking Tour

September 18 | 11:00AM – 1:00PM
$20 PBN Members / $25 General Public

While the long historical heritage of Niagara Falls cannot be denied, Niagara Falls gained many examples of modern architecture during the city’s urban renewal efforts. On September 18, see some of these sites such as the Carborundum Office Complex and the former Native American Center for the Living Arts with your guide Christiana Limniatis, Preservation Buffalo Niagara’s Director of Preservation Services.

*Please be informed that social distancing policies will be in effect.

For more information or to buy your tickets for ModernWNY events, please contact Tia Brown at, visit, or call 716-852- 3300.

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.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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