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The redevelopment of the First Buffalo River Marina within the 200-acre Buffalo Outer Harbor Development will transform a formerly industrial site to meet the expanding need for public waterfront recreation in Buffalo. A centerpiece of the new marina and park designed by OLIN landscape architects is our transformation of the 1954 Connecting Terminal grain elevator annex into a new interpretive center that will allow visitors to explore the unique structure and learn more about Buffalo’s industrial history. Along with the adjacent Mainhouse, these structures once held just over one million bushels of grain.

A meandering, gently sloping path through the elevator bins connects different park datums and serves as infrastructure to support exhibitions and immersive environments. Allowing for unscripted public use and exploration, the path invites visitors to discover a wide variety of unique platforms and spatial arrangements. A series of new doorways, windows, and skylights cut into the cylindrical bins produce diverse light and environmental effects, while forging connections at different scales to the wider site.

In addition to the renovation of the grain elevators, we’ve also designed a new park pavilion accommodating a food and beverage vendor and public restrooms, housed in a volume beneath an expansive shade canopy.

Existing Connecting Terminal grain elevator

Visitors are invited to explore the interior of the grain elevator through a series of connecting pathways.

Each bin offers a distinct environment facilitated through carefully considered insertions, erasures and new apertures cut into the concrete walls and roof.

The Park Pavilion’s extensive canopy provides a flexible space for dining or lounging.

Client: OLIN / Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation
Location: Buffalo, New York
Status: Design development
Dates: 2018 –
Program: Renovation of existing grain elevator structure to create a 9,000 sq ft interpretive space, and a new 2,400sf park pavilion
Environmental: Adaptive re-use

Design Team: Eric Bunge, Mimi Hoang | David Chessrown, Talene Montgomery | Laura Lee, Matthew Sikora, Lucas MacMillan

Collaborators: Landscape Architect/Team Lead: OLIN | Structural and Civil Engineering: WSP | MEP Engineering: Encorus Group | Ecological Consultant: Biohabitats, Inc. | Environmental Engineering: The LiRo Group |  Signage and Wayfinding: RSM Design | Survey / Geotechnical: Ravi Engineering & Land Surveying