Re-cycling Buffalo's heritage: The regenerative re-use of 133 Tonawanda Street
Petruzzelli, Andrew Gordon
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Statement of issue/problem. The presenting problem is the under utilization of existing structures which were constructed to have long life spans. Many of these structures could easily be adapted to many new programmatic and social usages for a community; especially in aging industrial cities, such as Buffalo. Finding a new identity as a twenty-first century city, through continued growth and greater diversification, is both a challenge and an opportunity for Buffalo and many other cities. The need to re-populate and urbanize our city is one which is becoming far more daunting as the population continues to decline. Statement of significance of issue. As suburban sprawl continues to add acres of newly developed land, often many aging buildings are abandoned and left to decompose, as both the companies and their employees move on to "greener pastures". In today's largely indifferent "throw away" culture it is the norm to discard valuable items for the ease of time or money and never look back. It is important to recognize the plethora of buildings, which hold much potential in their location, close relationship to infrastructure, and permanence of construction. Many of these older structures are built with materials and craftsmanship which is far superior in quality and life span than many products used today. While many of these buildings require updating and adaptation to meet modern clients needs, they still have decades of use within their walls with only a bit of imagination and willingness to think outside the "big box". Method of inquiry. Through the selection of a very promising site near the intersection of NYS route 198 and interstate 190, as well as the utilization of applicable Green architecture techniques, and new sustainable materials, the design for the revitalization of a specific aging building will be conducted. By engaging many precedents in adaptive re-use one can begin to discover emerging trends which will help to strengthen the impact and success of the design scheme. In addition a close study of the existing building and the processes and products that stemmed from its productive period, will begin to ground the project to the heritage of both the building and the site. This is important as it should create a sense of authenticity and identity, which is invaluable among today's homogenous and generic design practices. This building would begin a new life as a mixed use development. Ideally this project will spur additional development, and evoke changes in the publics' attitude toward this neighborhood, while reinforcing this city's desire to endure. Expected outcome. By studying advancement in both emerging fields of alternative energy, new products and adaptive reuse, this design study would present Buffalo with a working example of reference for future adaptive re-use projects. At the conclusion of the study a viable design would be produced, allowing for the variation of both usage and aesthetics through a fully developed scheme. In addition, the study will encourage the use of new products and begin to transform aging buildings from a burden on the city's power, water and infrastructure grid, to a self sufficient, revitalized building with a new productive usage.