ADVENTURES IN BUFFALOLAND | Episode 5: Medical Campus: The Cure for Buffalo?

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ADVENTURES IN BUFFALOLAND | Episode 5: Medical Campus: The Cure for Buffalo?

“Medical Campus: The Cure for Buffalo?”

Hundreds of millions of dollars are going into the downtown Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus – while we all hope this massive investment near downtown will bring urban revitalization to Buffalo, the early signs raise the question: it it the cure or just more disease?

The tragic irony: It’s the MEDICAL industry that is creating a built environment so harmful to public health and safety.

Adventures in Buffaloland is an almost weekly series, with new episodes almost every Friday. Experience the thrills and chills of Buffalo architecture and civic design with host Tim Tielman, Buffalo’s leading preservationist and executive director of the Campaign For Greater Buffalo cialis super active.  Produced by award-winning filmmaker John Paget.

Please post comments – we love to hear your feedback, questions, suggestions!

Call our viewer hotline at 1-800-704-8894 and leave a comment or question for Tim. Selected comments will be included in future episodes.

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29 Responses to “ADVENTURES IN BUFFALOLAND | Episode 5: Medical Campus: The Cure for Buffalo?”

  1. Marie Arico Says:

    What made you think this project would be any better than the others in Western NY? I am from Niagara Falls and left for Tucson, AZ in 1976. While still in Niagara I watched as they destroyed the downtown area for urban renewal. Now there is a blighted area around one of the world’s most spectacular sites/sights. If politicians can screw up one of the natural wonders surely they can mess up a simple building project by not requiring landscaping and forethought. Where was the public input?

  2. Frank Sica Says:

    Tim – Please take a look at the BNMC Master Plan – Ellicott Street is going to be the main pedestrian accessway. Landscaping and public amenities that will encourage people to use the street are on the way – it is a work in progress. Matt Enstice and the BNMC are working hard to develop plans to make the campus a living, breathing, vibrant community.

    In reference to one of the buildings on your tour, Hauptman Woodward actually has a front door for the Public – it’s on Ellicott! You show the loading dock as the entry to the building – that’s the entry for vehicles and service, not people! You’re confusing the public; one might even say misleading them! Go around to Ellicott and show people the front door!

  3. Tim Tielman Says:

    Frank-
    A developer I admire, Tony Goldman, has a saying which I have posted up in the office, “Everything is frontage.” The central problem with the social shortcomings of the H-W building is its siting within the fenced lot, rather than running along Washington, Virginia, and Ellicott streets, like, say, the Roosevelt Apartments does on Main and Carlton. Further, the entry for the public is segregated in midblock, away from those who work in the building. Had we gone to the Ellicott St. side, we would have just kvetched about this and the pedestrian bridge, which will only increase the anti-social aspects of the entire complex, and the fact that the opportunity to capitalize on the Ulrich’s corner was forgone. Maybe another time.

  4. Jane Griffin Says:

    Dear Tim. Can you tell the difference between the front and rear of buildings? Ellicott Street is designed to be the central street of the BNMC not Washington. HWI is NOT part of RPCI. The main entrance of HWI is on Ellicott. Please visit us. I will be happy to show you around. Normally I agree with you but this video is not reality. It was as if you examined the Delaware Avenue Buildings from Virginia Place. I expect more from you, Tim. Jane Griffin

  5. John Paget Says:

    Dear Frank and Jane:
    I’m just the filmmaker, but it seems pretty clear to me: no one, not Tim Tielman, not even the architect, gets to arbitrarily pick what is the “back” of a building and what is the “front”. The front(s) of a building – and there can be, and often are, more than one front(s) – is any side of a building that faces the sidewalk/public realm. So if we cannot erect another building between the Washington Street sidewalk and the Hauptman Woodward building (and its armature of stanchions, parking spaces, utility boxes), then this side of the Hauptman Woodward building faces the sidewalk and public realm, and therefore is “frontage.” It is one of the fronts of the building.
    What would be great is if the owners of the HW would could give up a couple rows of parking along the perimeter of the block and allow for a row of mixed-use buildings to be built along the sidewalks of Washington and Virginia Street (leaving an alley entry for vehicles to drive in to the parking lot/loading dock). Is this possible?

  6. Tara A. Ellis Says:

    Tim –
    This was an interesting perspective. Unfortunately, there were inaccuracies and misconceptions in your blog video. In terms of the Hauptman-Woodward building, while you may not appreciate its aesthetics, it has in fact won a number of architectural awards and is an open, elegant, bright and cheery atmosphere in which to work each day. I think this building is quite exceptional and we consistently receive positive feedback during the tours we conduct every week – which I don’t think you have ever participated in. HWI is NOT part of RPCI. We are independent and collaborate with each other. The “bat cave” you point out is a private entrance in the rear of the building used for loading and unloading and primarily entered by staff. The front of the building is actually on Ellicott. Also, this is a secure facility because there are millions of dollars of equipment housed here, not to mention priceless experiments which frankly will have international health implications. If you know anyone who has diabetes and receives insulin via a pump, they have been impacted by the work done at HWI. If you know anyone who suffers from an estrogen-dependent breast cancer (80 percent of breast cancer patients), they will be impacted by the work done at HWI. As for the fence and the parking lot, they are owned and operated by another organization – not HWI.
    In addition, HWI is internationally renowned for its science, houses the area’s only Nobel Laureate and has a positive impact on the local economy. It strikes me as rather irresponsible to have distributed a piece on the campus without investing the time to be adquately informed. I am happy to help you find out the facts about HWI and I am confident that my colleagues at the other BNMC institutions would be as well, unfortunately I think your “coverage” was more based in biased opinion than fact. Tara A. Ellis

  7. Nelson Starr Says:

    Gosh, I wish my show, All Access Pass, could be this controversial!!!! I’m jealous!

  8. Daniel Sack Says:

    HWI, RPCI, Smart Pill, Buffalo General Hospital.. are all examples of buildings that are rude to the pedestrian. I fully understand that inside those buildings are people working hard to literally save lives. The offices, laboratories, operating rooms, even the corridors may be wonderful places but we know from existing older buildings that a building can be functional inside and present well and functionally to people outside.

    A dumpster and loading dock is inexcusable along any sidewalk; it doesn’t matter where the “front” door is.

    People can disagree about the aesthetics of a building’s exterior (I know people who like the City Court building!) but narrow sidewalks and surface parking lots at an otherwise progressive institution do not speak well of that institution’s regard for the public. I am sure there was no intention to offend – but who can enjoy walking along those sidewalks?

    We must make certain our cityscape is as good as it can be – Tim’s videos help educate people about what can make a city better.

    Thank you Tim and John.

  9. Yan Krymsky Says:

    Tim,
    I doubt very much that you missed the three story high glass atrium entry along Ellicott so when you point to the garage entrance and say “is the only way into the building” you are intentionally misleading your viewers. You also show just one side of the project suggesting that the institute is defined by a single monolithic metal panel facade. The rest of the building is in fact clad in various types of clear and translucent glazing.
    I sympathize with your concerns for the public realm but contrasting modern with traditional architecture doesn’t address what are inherently urban planning problems. Instead, it oversimplifies and confuses the issue.
    If your intention is to educate the public than I challenge you to look beyond architectural superficialities and focus on broader more material solutions for improving public space.

  10. Walt Pangborn Says:

    For the record, the parking lot which seems to raise so many hackles, is owned by the City of Buffalo (I believe through BURA) and leased to Lifetime Health. HWI is not behind the fence on Virginia St; there is another fence between HWI and the parking lot.

  11. Eliz Says:

    I think HWI is a gorgeous building from every side. The dynamics of what is now BNMC have been in place for many, many years and to blame HWI for not being able to fix that is ridiculous. This area has been dominated by large institutional structures for years. You can’t reverse that; you can only try to add better buildings and do what you can to unify the disparate elements. I believe that is happening. All my Allentown neighbors are very excited about what is happening there and we don’t give a damn where they put their dumpsters.

    Also, the will to finally develop Metzger and the others (and I know very well what it took to keep those buildings from being demolished) came at least partially from the activity on the BNMC.

  12. peter grine Says:

    cmon tim, i love your enthusiasm but that was just plain wrong. what about the south side of virginia st? ullrichs, only 1 person can walk on that sidewalk at a time. you could have at least mentioned the “honky tube” over ellicott st.

  13. Britannica Says:

    OK; first, I think we would all agree that wonderful work is done throughout the BNMC and its surrounding neighborhood. Nothing that Tim says about urban design here suggests otherwise.

    Second, as I see it, Tim’s main point is that several of the private/public interfaces in this neighborhood are flawed from an urban design standpoint. But the comments above raise numerous irrelevant red herrings: that wonderful work is done here, that HWI has two entrances (though I wonder which gets more use), that HWI is not part of RPCI, that the HWI building is gorgeous and has won awards, that the HWI interior is nice, that HWI does not own the fence and parking lot, etc. So please, let us try to stay focused; does anyone actually think that these three buildings interface in a truly effective way with the public realm?

    Finally, Eliz, I find it hard to believe that you and your Allentown neighbors “don’t give a damn where they put their dumpsters.” This must be rhetorical flourish, right? Or are you really satisfied if your neighbors want to keep dumpsters, say, permanently stored on their lawns? Even the City’s housing code requires that our garbage totes be stored in rear yards. Is such a law silly nonsense?

    Again, we are ALL “very excited about what is happening there,” but this is irrelevant to the urban design of this district. Can we (as Tim suggests at the end of the episode) do both science and pedestrian-friendly urban design?

  14. Josh Says:

    To say that the “front” looks okay, so we don’t need to worry about how the back looks is basically equating your architectual “design” to that of the mullet.

  15. :) Says:

    Can I look forward to your next video, in which you discuss the Trico Building and how they have to block off the sidewalk altogether due to it physically falling apart? Maybe then you can enlighten us as to why it hasn’t been fixed yet…

  16. jeff freier Says:

    how about an episode on eagle st. w/ dominique

  17. PAC Says:

    Have you ever heard of the KISS SLAP KISS theory? I am sure there have to be some positive things going on in this neighborhood but you neglected to point even one out – your negativity only made me want to look for the good in these building and I am sure there are more sides to all of them than you showed – very narrow minded report!! Find something positive, then show the flaws and end on a high note – will make people more interested in what you have to say – sounds like sour grapes to me!!

  18. AIM Says:

    Sorry, this is my pet peeve. Anti-social DOES NOT mean “against being social”. It is a characteristic of sociopathic or psychopathic disorders marked by a lack of remorse or guilt and a tendency to be manipulative towards others. So anti-social people actually tend to be fairly charming and seem outgoing…at first.
    Also something I noticed in other videos, he seems to use forbidding where he should be using foreboding, these words do not have the same connotation
    This man knows a lot about architecture but doesn’t know beans about English.
    Love the program, keep up the good work.

  19. dcdotcom Says:

    Great Video….it’s mistakes like what you what Buffalo has allowed to happen with the medical campus, that lead me into architecture/urban planning. I’m a former resident Buffalo and can name every mistake as it relates to the built enviroment that has happened in Buffalo since 1958. That is when I begin to look at the built enviroment at the tender age of 9.

    Please share the video with the Mayor and the powers that be. The is defintely need for Urban Design guidelines for the city. It seems every new building has to have a surface parking lot in the front of the structure, that should be a no-no.

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