Burchfield Penney Art Center

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February 25, 2011

If there's one thing that describes Buffalonians, it's pride. Whether it's in the form of tirelessly cheering on our Buffalo Bills or even boasting about the annual snowfall, we'll sing it loudly. And though we have yet to win that Superbowl (a very sensitive subject), the city has certainly won the hearts of architecture fans—capturing them anew in 2008 with the completion of the Burchfield Penney Art Center designed by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architecture and certified as New York state's first LEED art museum.

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  Over Presidents' Day weekend, I traveled back to Buffalo (where I grew up) and was able to take in the 84,000-square-foot, zinc-clad building located at the center of Buffalo's museum district along the Elmwood corridor. Not only is the new center next to the famous H.H. Richardson Buffalo State Hospital buildings (beautifully captured at night by Christopher Payne in his book Asylum), but it is located across the street from the renowned Alright-Knox Art Gallery (with an expansion designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore Owings & Merrill) and near the city's Frederick Law Olmstead park. Photo by KC Kratt.
    Over Presidents' Day weekend, I traveled back to Buffalo (where I grew up) and was able to take in the 84,000-square-foot, zinc-clad building located at the center of Buffalo's museum district along the Elmwood corridor. Not only is the new center next to the famous H.H. Richardson Buffalo State Hospital buildings (beautifully captured at night by Christopher Payne in his book Asylum), but it is located across the street from the renowned Alright-Knox Art Gallery (with an expansion designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore Owings & Merrill) and near the city's Frederick Law Olmstead park. Photo by KC Kratt.
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  The museum was founded in affiliation with Buffalo State College in 1966 and for the first two years exclusively featured the work of Charles E. Burchfield (who died in early 1967), a watercolorist who was born in Ohio but moved to Buffalo in the early 1920s. The new building—designed as an abstract sculpture—features a grand, double-story entrance that leads visitors to either of the museum's two floors of gallery space.
    The museum was founded in affiliation with Buffalo State College in 1966 and for the first two years exclusively featured the work of Charles E. Burchfield (who died in early 1967), a watercolorist who was born in Ohio but moved to Buffalo in the early 1920s. The new building—designed as an abstract sculpture—features a grand, double-story entrance that leads visitors to either of the museum's two floors of gallery space.
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  Looking back toward the entrance, the gift shop (shown here housing an installation as opposed to books and pottery) and the reception tuck into the space on the right, with the cafe even closer toward the main doors.
    Looking back toward the entrance, the gift shop (shown here housing an installation as opposed to books and pottery) and the reception tuck into the space on the right, with the cafe even closer toward the main doors.
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  Inside, the East Gallery "rotates around a cast-stone rotunda," the architects say.
    Inside, the East Gallery "rotates around a cast-stone rotunda," the architects say.
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  To a dramatically different effect, shown here is the East Gallery populated with art and visitors. Of the exhibits currently on display, Sensory Crossovers was the one not to miss. Beautifully curated by theme, the exhibition features visual art inspired by art of another sense, such as sound, by artists including Burchfield, Arthur Dove, and Adolph Gottlieb. Photo by KC Kratt.
    To a dramatically different effect, shown here is the East Gallery populated with art and visitors. Of the exhibits currently on display, Sensory Crossovers was the one not to miss. Beautifully curated by theme, the exhibition features visual art inspired by art of another sense, such as sound, by artists including Burchfield, Arthur Dove, and Adolph Gottlieb. Photo by KC Kratt.
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  The works that has stayed with me since my visit are the Lower West Side Triptychs by Buffalo photographer Milton Rogovin, who passed away in late January. Rogovin's portraiture capture the everyday poor and working-class people of the Queen City a la Dorothea Lange in middle America during the Great Depression. In the triptych series he documented select individuals over a span of more than 20 years. Photo by KC Kratt.
    The works that has stayed with me since my visit are the Lower West Side Triptychs by Buffalo photographer Milton Rogovin, who passed away in late January. Rogovin's portraiture capture the everyday poor and working-class people of the Queen City a la Dorothea Lange in middle America during the Great Depression. In the triptych series he documented select individuals over a span of more than 20 years. Photo by KC Kratt.
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  In addition to the galleries, the art center features workshop spaces and the Peter and Elizabeth Tower Auditorium, used for concerts, lectures, and other public and private events. Photos by Biff Henrich.
    In addition to the galleries, the art center features workshop spaces and the Peter and Elizabeth Tower Auditorium, used for concerts, lectures, and other public and private events. Photos by Biff Henrich.
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  The Burchfield Penney Art Center was certified LEED silver by the USGBC after its completion, making it the first LEED art museum in New York state. Visit burchfieldpenney.org for a list of events and exhibitions and click over to our Three Buildings: Buffalo, New York to weigh in on your favorite structure in the city.Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our  FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!
    The Burchfield Penney Art Center was certified LEED silver by the USGBC after its completion, making it the first LEED art museum in New York state. Visit burchfieldpenney.org for a list of events and exhibitions and click over to our Three Buildings: Buffalo, New York to weigh in on your favorite structure in the city.

    Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

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