Picture this situation: there’s a large century-old building in the middle of the city – perhaps an old factory, an armory or a school – that has long ago been vacated and no longer serves any practical purpose. People are split about what should be done to it. Local residents see it as an eyesore and a breeding ground for vandalism. Government officials reluctantly absorb the maintenance costs only because it allows them to push back the costly question of renovation or demolition. And some local organizations push for the site’s preservation, arguing it holds significant historical value. But in all likelihood, there’s a general impasse on all sides, and nothing substantial can ever be decided on. The building, meanwhile, stays put – a costly and disliked monolith offering nothing but neighborhood discomfort.
This scene might sound pretty familiar — perhaps you’ve witnessed it in your own neighborhood or have seen it on the news — as it has played out
Fortunately, architects can help get residents, communities and authorities out of this stalemate thanks to their most vaunted skill: their power of imagination. Often, when cities are looking to address large, underutilized buildings, architecture firms are brought on board to conceptualize how such spaces can be reformed to serve the community. Taking input from local communities and organizations and accounting for the pre-existing infrastructure, these architects can then conceive a place that fully captures the imagination of everyone involved. Architects can generate excitement and shift the conversation away from perceiving a building as a nuisance towards treating it instead like an asset full of potential. Subsequently, their plans can get disparate local interests to focus their energies on achieving one same vision. Working on such goals becomes a lot easier when everyone around the table agrees on a course of action.
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In the space of a few years, however, STUDIO V with the help of community leaders, has propelled a conversation about how the site can be renovated to revitalize this part of Buffalo’s waterfront. To push this point, the firm has made an inspiring design proposal for the complex: a new Silo City that would include gardens, performance spaces, business incubators, an artist hotel, a velodrome and much more. The silos’ large and windowless cylindrical voids would be transformed into “top-lit art galleries and multi-level swimming pools cascading from one level to the next,” as founder of STUDIO V Jay Valgora explains. It’s hard not to get excited for a project like this, even at such a colossal scale.
Are you interested in spearheading design vision projects that inspire communities? Consider applying to firms that are hiring architects to work on conceptualization projects: