The DL&W rail corridor touches some of Buffalo’s most iconic areas, including the Old First Ward and Canalside. After years of work and reviewing 98 design idea proposals, the Western New York Land Conservancy on Friday announced the winning ideas that will lay the groundwork for the mile-and-a-half of land’s new look.
The first-place winner for the Community Choice Award was designed by a current Buffalo firefighter. Matt Renkas said he started working on this project years ago when he attended the first community visioning workshop at Larkinville.
“From that, I met people in The Ward, listening to their stories,” Renkas said. “And from that my project came, which is the story of The Del. From nature… to industry to where we are now. I’m excited to see where we can take the next chapter of this project.”
Land Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Smith says this is a historic moment for Buffalo.
“In my mind, 20 years from now, there’s going to be a photograph up on a wall somewhere and people are going to want to look at that,” Smith said. “They are going to say, ‘I was in that picture. I was there. I helped make this happen.’”
A total of seven designs were given awards.
The next phase for the project will work on concept and schematic designs. Before that can begin, the Land Conservancy needs to raise $200,000 before the end of the year.
Rep. Brian Higgins calls the Buffalo River corridor the "forgotten waterfront."
“Our work is not nearly completed. It is really just beginning. These are challenging, but they will bring great great value to this community both economically and in terms of life quality,” Higgins said.
Winners of the Juried Design Ideas Competition
First Place: “All Aboard! Reclaiming Hill & Del” was submitted by MNLA, a NYC-based landscape architecture firm. Their design was created by team members Molly Bourne, Greg Leonard, Katherine Cannella, Ilana Cohen, Katie Drummond, Sonya Gimon, Emily Gordon, Rae Ishee, Johanna Phelps, and Yelena Zolotorevskaya.
Second Place: “The Dell, The Link & The Wander” (DLW) was a joint effort by: Marvel Architects – a NYC-based Landscape Architecture, Architecture & Placemaking firm with team members Yadiel Rivera, Tyler Silvestro, Yanick Lay; Buro Happold – Planning & Engineering firm with team members Alice Shay, Cristobal Correa; Patrick Cullina – Horticulture & Design firm; and NOWHERE Office – Graphic Design & Wayfinding firm with team member Yeju Choi.
Third Place – Tie: “Railn” was designed by a team of 6 graduate students of Landscape Architecture from Beijing Forestry University, including Ou Xiaoyang, Ni Yongwei, Lin Qiao, Liang Shuyu, Li Jiayi, and Ai Xin. “The Loop Line” was designed by Kerry O’Connor of OSA, an emerging design practice based in Brooklyn, NY.
Winners of the Community Choice Award
First Place: “The Del: A Steel and Rail Heritage Trail” was designed by Matt Renkas, who has a degree in Landscape Architecture from SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry. Matt is currently a firefighter for the City of Buffalo.
Second Place: “Del Buffalo: Connecting and Reconnecting” was designed by a Buffalo-based team comprised of Seth Amman, Dylan Burns, Nicole Lipp Duffin, Matt Wattles, Stephanie (Cole) Adams, Daniel Seiders.
Third Place: “The Del-Line” was designed by Cannon Design of Grand Island & Supermass Studio of NYC. Team Members include Michael Tunkey, John P. Reed, Taewook Cha, Luke Johnson, Mark Nowaczyk, Nhan Bui, Ryan Koella, Sean Eno, Luyao Kong, Nicole Sowinski.
You can see all of the winners here.