Preservation Buffalo Niagara is proud to present the first annual Modernism Week: a celebration of modern architecture, design, art, and culture in the Western New York region. Western New York was founded on a rich tradition of architectural experimentation that not only transformed our region but influenced modern architectural sensibilities around the world. Taking place September 6-13, 2019, PBN’s Modernism Week will celebrate and highlight the architecture of the Modernist era throughout the region through engaging tours, a lecture, and a DIY driving tour.

Schedule of of Events

Drive Yourself MODern, driving tour

Where: All over Western New York
When: Ongoing all week

This 14 stop tour was developed as a self-guided driving tour highlighting just a few of the many fine examples of modern era architecture throughout Western New York. While there are more examples of modern architecture than what is included in this brochure, it is intended to serve as an introduction to the variety residential, commercial, and institutional modern architectural styles and forms found in our built environment. With each annual Modernism Week, we will issue a new collectible Drive Yourself MODern tour brochure to celebrate and highlight more of our region’s modern landmarks.

Please note that some of the properties included in this brochure are not open to the public and/or are private residences. Do not trespass, knock on doors, or ring doorbells. Please respect the owner’s privacy and enjoy the architecture from the public right of way.


Modern Living: Intro to Postwar Homes, lecture

Where: Hallwalls Cinema, 341 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14202
When: September 10th, 6pm-8pm

The end of WWII brought drastic changes to the America’s residential landscape. Meeting the housing needs of returning GI’s and their new families lead to the development of new building types and styles that incorporated new materials and philosophies. Join PBN’s Christiana Limniatis as we explore the homes of the postwar era.




Temple Beth Zion, tour

Where: 805 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14209
When: September 11th, 6pm-8pm

Constructed from 1964-67, this Brutalist building was designed by nationally known architect Max Abramovitz, of the New York City based firm Harrison & Abramovitz. Abramovitz’ work is focused primarily on commercial and institutional buildings, including the United Nations headquarters (1953) and Lincoln Center’s Philharmonic Hall (1962). Temple Beth Zion appears as a large oval bowl with scalloped sides made of concrete and clad with Alabama limestone. Theses scalloped sides are comprised of ten segments which represent the Ten Commandments and, abstractly, hands raised in prayer. A large stained-glass window, designed by artist Ben Shahn, dominates the front entrance, with a mirroring window at the other end of the sanctuary space. While the dominate structure is the oval sanctuary space, the synagogue is actually one building composed of four components parts: the sanctuary, a two-story school building, the Joseph L Fink Auditorium, and the Sisterhood Chapel.


Earl W. Brydges Buildingtour

Where: 1425 Main St. Niagara Falls, NY 14305
When: September 12th, 3pm-5pm

With the goals of city-wide revitalization and the provision of a larger library to its increased population, the city of Niagara Falls commissioned Paul Rudolph (a unanimous pick from a field of five finalists) to design this building, which was constructed from 1969-74. Each floor of the Brutalist structure has a distinct use, with library space on the first, an auditorium and offices on the second, local archives on the third, and mechanical equipment on the fourth, each getting smaller as they go up. Large dormers protrude from the roof, providing additional light and adding to the exterior’s dynamic, angled texture. Inside, the central space is open all the way up to the ceiling and is flooded by natural light from the clerestory windows.


Modern Architecture: Louis Sullivan’s Guaranty Building Reconsidered

Where: Guaranty Building, 140 Pearl Street, Buffalo NY 14202
When: Friday, September 13th, 5:30pm-8pm

Louis Sullivan is often regarded as the father of modern American architecture, but how much truth is there to that claim?

PBN is honored to have Dr. Irene E. Ayad join us for a presentation focusing on Louis Sullivan’s Guaranty Building. Dr. Ayad’s lecture will focus on Sullivan’s contribution to the development of the skyscraper and its relationship to Modern architecture. One cannot say impact because there is no linear connection. His design strategy foreshadowed the function aesthetic of modern architecture.

Participants are welcome to arrive at 5:30pm to explore the Guaranty Interpretive Center before the presentation starts at 6pm. Pre-purchased tickets are required for this event.

About the speaker: Dr. Ayad received a Ph.D, in Architectural History and Urbanism at Cornell University. She has taught at several higher institutes including the University of Buffalo. Her writings have covered both Louis Kahn and Louis Sullivan and she is currently collaborating on a guidebook about Buffalo Architecture with Frank Kowsky and Martin Wachadlo.

The mission of PBN’s Modernism Week is to celebrate modern architecture and design and encourage the preservation and continued use of our modern built environment.



Help Preservation Buffalo Niagara inventory Western New York’s modern built environment by submitting your favorite modern era historic resource. You can nominate a site, building, structure, object, or sign- anything that you find architecturally or culturally significance and was built between the 1930s and 1980s.