True Green Cities / Saving Brutalism Can Be a Lonely Battle

Paul Rudolph's Shoreline Apartments frame Buffalo's City Hall.

Paul Rudolph's Shoreline Apartments frame Buffalo's City Hall.

Almost two years ago I was contacted by my colleagues at DOCOMOMO US, wanting to know if I knew anything about the plan to tear down five of the 32 remaining apartment buildings at Paul Rudolph's Shoreline Apartment Complex in downtown Buffalo. Only a few blocks from me, and always a complex I had admired, I rushed to find out the story.  While these efforts of the few of us in Buffalo who seem to care about their significance have not halted the demolition of these five buildings, the story has started to get national attention.  For two weeks, the five buildings have been undergoing a quietly planned demolition, which is starting to make others in the community take note.  
Demolition of five of the 32 remaining buildings at Shoreline began last week. Photo courtesy David Torke/FixBuffalo.

Demolition of five of the 32 remaining buildings at Shoreline began last week. Photo courtesy David Torke/FixBuffalo.

Mark Byrnes, an alumni of the University at Buffalo School of Architecture & Planning, and an associate editor at The Atlantic's CityLab who writes about design, history, and photography, took on this complex tale and just published a quite well written and researched article, The Slow Death of A Brutalist Vision for Buffalo. As per Mark: Campagna is fighting a surprisingly lonely battle. In her efforts to help save a piece of Buffalo brutalism, (Buffalo) the city that takes pride in its collection of concrete grain elevators has remained mostly silent in the case of Paul Rudolph. “I don’t really consider myself an activist but nobody else was stepping forward,” says Campagna. “Somebody needed to speak for these buildings.” While I find it heartbreaking to have to drive past these ruinous hulks now, I am encouraged that their plight is now getting national attention.  Stay tuned. And if you’d like to “subscribe” or follow my blog, True Green Cities, please sign up through the “Subscribe” button at the bottom left of this page. You’ll receive a daily recap when new blogs are posted. Or Sign up for the Feed.  
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