HHL Architects has teamed with architecture firm SITU to design a new visitor center at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Graycliff, located on the bluffs of Lake Erie outside Buffalo, NY. Bringing together Graycliff’s historical significance, compelling landscape and renewed vision for public engagement, this project seeks to transform a visitor center into a cultural destination.
The project utilizes an existing concrete block gymnasium that serves as the current visitor center. It will be upgraded to house an expanded gift shop, new service and staff facilities, a reception area, cafe, and exhibition space, while also serving as an informal and inviting buffer space between more specific uses that allows various programs to expand or retract as activities require.
Extending outward from the gym, an open, light-filled lobby space will create a new face for the building. A floor-to-ceiling glass facade opens up at the terrace to blend the lobby interior with the terrace exterior, allowing for larger events to occur.
The building is topped by an intensive green roof that cantilevers outward toward a restored fruit orchard creating an outdoor covered porch area. Clad in natural wood, this prominent roof feature seeks to bring the outside in and ensconce the new Center within the existing landscape.