The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation engaged HHL Architects to design new “interpretive” structures along the edges of the Erie Canal’s historic Commercial Slip at Canalside, located along the northern edge of the Buffalo River in Downtown Buffalo. The project entails the creation of new public toilets, information center, and concessions, within two structures designed to recall the massing of original 19th century buildings that once stood in this neighborhood. HHL teamed with NYC-based EE&K, Perkins Eastman, the firm which completed the Master Plan for Canalside.
The two structures are Longshed and The Union Block. Longshed (formerly Pavilion) is a wood timber frame structure that resembles the former canal loading and unloading buildings. It will shelter the construction of wooden canal boats that will be on display for visitors, and contain toilets, concessions, and mechanical support spaces. The Union Block is an enclosed, concrete-framed brick masonry structure that recalls the original Union Block group of tenement structures. The original Union Block structures also housed the infamous “Dug’s Dive”, an establishment for sailors, as well as those traveling to Western New York along the Underground Railroad. This building houses an information office, a lobby and upper floors for vertical views and circulation, a utility basement, and toilets.