Hamilton Can Learn from Buffalo's Architectural Renaissance

By Jason Leach
Published August 03, 2007

Hamilton, although never having experienced the levels of devastation and decline as Buffalo, has much to learn from our neighbour across the river.

They are currently experiencing an urban renaissance and interest in their downtown much like Hamilton.

However, architecturally, our cities are light years apart. Buffalo is developing mixed-use buildings that capture the design and feel of their industrial heritage, with streetfront shops, large windows and a very cool, urban flair in their design.

Hamilton's newest downtown projects currently under construction look promising on paper ­ the Terraces on King and the five storey mixed-use building at King and John ­ but we are nowhere near experiencing the critical mass of well-designed projects that Buffalo is.

The next round of downtown loan programs [PDF] was unveiled this week and there are some promising projects that we should all watch closely.

Most notable are the four to six storey infill project next to Acclamation on James North and the seven storey infill project at Rebecca and Hughson.

Many projects are just beginning and soon-to-start in the Main West/Hess area. No designs have been made available yet, but the potential exists to radically redesign this drab entrance to our city.

New condos, hotels, commercial projects and office space are all coming to this area. Will Hamilton settle for the blank walls and big boxness that surround our city, or will we learn from Buffalo and elevate the image of our city through great architecture?

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.


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By DC83 (anonymous) | Posted August 03, 2007 at 19:05:03

Rebecca & Hughson? Which corner? I thought the city was planning a park for that whole empty lot!?

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 04, 2007 at 09:23:55

the two storey building on the northwest corner. they are adding 5 floors.

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By peter (anonymous) | Posted August 06, 2007 at 10:46:31

this city doesn't care about creativity or any sort of fore-thought whatsoever. unfortunately, i think we all know the answer to your question.

i don't think i like the idea of adding to that building at rebecca and hughson. i like it the way it is.

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