Buffalo architecture rises to top of national list

Mar 5, 2017

Nicknamed the birthplace of "American" architecture, Buffalo's buildings have generated great interest in travel enthusiasts.

The previously underrated city was named America's favorite city for architecture, according to a recent survey from Travel and Leisure magazine. Patrick Kaler, President and CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara, told WBFO that this is the first time Buffalo has topped the favorite cities for architecture.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Graycliff
Credit WBFO File Photo / WBFO News

"I think it's a true testament to the acknowledgement of our architecture for our city," he said. "You know that we do have the great American architects and fabulous examples of their structures in our city."

Architects who are not readily known to all New Yorkers are drawing people from across the nation. Buffalo's building inventory includes works by renowned architects, including Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright and Louise Bethune.

"I think when you think about Sullivan and his significant structures of the downtown area, that just plays into all these fantastic buildings that we have," Kaler said.

Tourists and architectural enthusiasts are not the only ones drawn by the city's structures, however. Film directors are increasingly interested in the area due to the period piece settings that are not found in other locations.

"Another fantastic opportunity that we have to showcase our architectural assets is through film, TV and movies that can come here to film because we still have these architectural significant buildings right here in our city that can be used for those purposes, " said Kaler.

He admitted that there is no way to truly quantify the number of travelers who visit Buffalo to take in the architectural offerings. Therefore, it is difficult to prove the overall value derived from preservation and restoration of the buildings.

"I think whenever we can take our best steps to preserve what we have, it plays into the overall history and culture of our destination, and that's really part of the messaging we're trying to put forward," said Kaler.

Following Buffalo on the list of the most architecturally compelling cities are Chicago, Illinois and Savannah, Georgia. The America's Favorite Places survey showcases aspects of a city that are not based on travel experiences.