True Green Cities/Celebrating Nine Years: Making a New Historic District

It’s been nine years since I launched Barbara A. Campagna/Architecture + Planning, PLLC and while many things have changed, my goal to work on “greening what’s already here” continues to be met, often in places I never expected. Given I never expected to be celebrating nine years on lockdown (week 6) due to the novel corona virus global health crisis.  But I still plan to present 5 positive stories from the past year this week to celebrate nine years in business.

Making a New Certified Historic District in Larkinville

The Larkin Historic District is composed of six industrial and commercial buildings located over four blocks between Hamburg and Hydraulic Streets within The Hydraulics/Larkin Neighborhood in Buffalo, NY. It is a local historic district and was documented within a National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation Form (MPDF) in 2010 which identified two historic contexts – The Hydraulics Neighborhood and The Larkin Company. BAC/A+P prepared a Certified Historic District nomination to the National Park Service to provide the six buildings within the district the opportunity to apply for state and federal historic tax credits.

The Hydraulics neighborhood was a section of Buffalo in the neighborhood of the old Hydraulic Canal, which formerly extended from the eastern end of the Hamburg Canal to the line of the present Hydraulics Street. Today this area is located within the larger East Side section of Buffalo, centered around the intersection of Swan and Seneca Streets. 

The Hydraulics neighborhood is significant as one of Buffalo’s earliest, distinct neighborhoods, and Buffalo’s first manufacturing district. The type of manufacturing and industrial growth which Buffalo is generally associated with originated in the Hydraulics neighborhood.  At the zenith of its success during this age, the Hydraulics neighborhood, which contained one of the nation’s largest and most successful industrial endeavors, the Larkin Company, was a microcosm of the prominence of the City of Buffalo as a whole.  The entire neighborhood is therefore sometimes referred to as the Larkin District due to the neighborhood’s association with its most prominent industrial giant. The four-block Larkin Historic District is embedded within the larger Hydraulics district.

The Larkin complex is a good example of an early twentieth-century factory, which used a utilitarian industrial design as the architectural aesthetic to define the buildings’ functions and encapsulated the three major technical features that revolutionized manufacturing and industrial design for the twentieth century – electricity, the powered crane and the steel frame. The interrelationship between the factory and the powering of its machinery led to a streamlined functional or utilitarian design. 

The district is significant for its contributions to the evolution of the American mail order retail business.  The Larkin Company was one of the great industrial concerns of the United States. At the company’s peak around 1919, its factory complex occupied 65 acres of floor area and employed about 2,000 people in the manufacture of hundreds of household products, sold by mail order to customers across North America.  The complex embodies distinguishing characteristics of state-of-the-art industrial buildings at the time of their construction ranging from brick-pier to post and beam and reinforced concrete construction in industrial applications. The buildings also contain large amounts of locally quarried stone and elements produced in the Buffalo area.  The buildings and sites are identified with national and local figures such as Larkin Company executives John Larkin, Elbert Hubbard, and Darwin Martin and structural engineer Robert J. Reidpath.  The L&M Building, the Power House, and 701 Seneca Street constitute the largest collection of work by master engineer Robert J. Reidpath.   

Many people are finding new ways to integrate historic preservation and green building practices, which makes my nine-year old venture a delightful and intellectually inspiring one. One of the buildings in this new Certified Historic District is the former Larkin Men’s Club which will be adapted for housing and commercial uses.  We look forward to working on the rehabilitation once the pandemic settles us into a new normal. 

(I apologize for the wonky formatting; the website is under renovation and its updates are on hold during this global health crisis.)

True Green Cities/Celebrating Nine Years: Keeping Busy in the Time of Corona

It’s been nine years since I launched Barbara A. Campagna/Architecture + Planning, PLLC and while many things have changed, my goal to work on “greening what’s already here” continues to be met, often in places I never expected. Given I never expected to be celebrating nine years on lockdown (week 6) due to the novel corona virus global health crisis.  But I still plan to present 5 positive stories from the past year this week to celebrate nine years in business.

Keeping Busy in the Time of Corona

Wondering what to do with your time, how to interact with others and how to keep yourself intellectually stimulated during COVID-19? I have been making use of my various memberships and signing up for webinars – and some even give you continuing education credits. Last week I participated in a NYS Empire State Development webinar on “Getting Savvy with Social Media” and a webinar from the Urban Green Council “What’s New in the 2020 NYC Energy Code?” 

In “Getting Savvy with Social Media” we discussed when to use Twitter vs. Facebook vs. LinkedIn vs Instagram.  Should you just use business pages or also use your personal pages to post business updates?  (Yes, use both!) How often should you post? (At least three times a week.) Be honest about how COVID-19 is affecting your business and you. We’re all in this together!

“What’s New in the 2020 NYC Energy Code?”  has been offered several times to inform green building practitioners on the new 2020 New York City Energy Conservation Code which goes into effect on May 12th and is related to Local Law 97.  If you work at all in sustainability, NYC or would like to be up to date with the best in energy codes, this webinar, with 1.5 AIA and GBCI credits, is important to take.  I learned so much. They provide you with a lot of support materials as well. This was my first webinar with Urban Green and I was incredibly impressed.  It was very well organized and the speakers were first-rate.  I signed up for a webinar on multi-family housing in May and their online virtual conference in June: Unlocking The Grid:  Getting Renawables to NYC. 

In addition to educational webinars, I have also been participating in updates from organizations I work with such as the National Park Service, NY Landmarks Conservancy and ULI. It’s a way to stay connected and up-to-date with your clients and memberships. 

So don’t delete those event emails you get from your organizations!!  I have also signed up for the Vernacular Architecture Forum (VAF) virtual conference which is replacing their actual conference in San Antonio on May 9th – only $20 for the whole day, whether you’re a member or not. 

I found an AIA Baltimore webinar on Resilience in May, and AIA National sent an email out last week saying that since they had to cancel their conference in Los Angeles they will be offering more online events and webinars.  Many people are finding new ways to integrate historic preservation and green building practices, which makes my nine-year old venture a delightful and intellectually inspiring one. We may not be able to see our colleagues and friends in person right now, but these online webinars and workshops are definitely very helpful.  Stay strong, safe and healthy!!

(I apologize for the wonky formatting; the website is under renovation and its updates are on hold during this global health crisis.)

True Green Cities/Celebrating Eight Years – Rejuvenation

Celebrating Eight Years – Rejuvenation

The restored façade of Northland Central at 683 Northland Avenue, Buffalo, NY.
The restored façade of Northland Central at 683 Northland Avenue, Buffalo, NY.

It’s been eight years since I launched Barbara A. Campagna/Architecture + Planning, PLLC and while many things have changed, my goal to work on “greening what’s already here” continues to be met, often in places I never expected. Many people are finding new ways to integrate historic preservation and green building practices, which makes my new venture a delightful and intellectually inspiring one. While I have typically each year posted one blog every day of my anniversary week, since my website is in the midst of reconstruction (actually building a new one), this will be the only blog this year until my new website launches this summer.

Restoring the skylight at the Old Post Office in Downtown Buffalo, now the SUNY Erie Campus.

Other highlights of the year include the 50th Anniversary APT Conference in Buffalo Niagara, a new project restoring the skylight at the Old Post Office (now the downtown Buffalo SUNY Erie Campus), preparing a Certified Historic District nomination for the word famous Larkin Factory in Buffalo, teaching a class on Adaptation (Adaptive Reuse) at Columbia, and continuing restoration projects at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens and historic churches in Buffalo and Jamestown, NY. 

The highlight of the past year, indeed one of the highlights of my career, has been the completion of Phase 1 of the transformation of the former Niagara Machine & Tool Works Factory into the Northland Workforce Training Center.  For more details on the history of the site and the scope of work please see my blog from last year.  Phase 2 is under construction, with the entire 240,000 square feet scheduled for completion in September.  This project is rejuvenating an underserved neighborhood by remaking long-vacant factories with work force training, light manufacturing spaces for technology-based innovation companies and a business incubator.  Public art, a new park and rebuilt sustainable infrastructure complete this reactivated community on Buffalo’s East Side. 

My three federal trademarks – the company logo, the tagline (Greening What’s Already Here) and the name of our sustainability management plan (The Greening Plan) were renewed by the Patent & Trademark Office for three more years!  Building a new website is a project on its own, so I’m looking forward to its launch this summer and the ability to publish more essays.  Enjoy your spring and summer!

© Copyright Barbara Campagna – True Green Cities - 2011-2013