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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Erie County Public Safety Building, Buffalo, NY, United States

New public safety facility for Buffalo
Prominently located at the terminus of an interstate off-ramp, the Erie County Public Safety Campus is an important gateway to the City of Buffalo. In an era of new standards for safety, this ambitious program hosts and consolidates some 20 public safety agencies, implementing the latest technologies for community preparedness. Should a disaster occur, the facility also serves as an Emergency Operating Center.

The key design challenge was to integrate necessary security precautions in the immediate post 9-11 environment while maintaining an appropriate degree of transparency and openness to the urban context. Located within an urban open space corridor, connecting the city core to the urban edge, the building employs a conceptual ribbon that folds to define spaces, allowing the building to extend, rather than obstruct, the corridor.

Taking its design cue from the urban context, the building reflects the nature of the city, changing scale, texture and character in order to create a bold gateway to the city, enhance the building entry, strengthen visual connections to downtown Buffalo, and introduce transparency and natural light to the program areas.

The building design is planned around an offset circulation corridor and vertical core scheme. By placing the solid vertical elements—including elevators, mechanical shafts, and stairs—to the south, the majority of each floor is available for efficient planning. From every location within the building, views to the city are prioritised, creating a sense of transparency from public spaces, through laboratory and other program areas, to the exterior.

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