Modernism Week

Tour Paul Rudolph's Light-Filled Library in Niagara Falls

An opportunity to take a deep look at the architecture of the Brydges Library in Niagara Falls—which has one of Paul Rudolph’s most luminous spaces.

An opportunity to take a deep look at the architecture of the Brydges Library in Niagara Falls—which has one of Paul Rudolph’s most luminous spaces.

NEXT WEEK: A SPECIAL TOUR OF A SPECIAL PLACE

Thursday, September 12, will be a tour of one of Paul Rudolph’s most luminous public buildings.

The Brydges Library—the central library of Niagara Falls, NY—was designed by Rudolph in 1969, at the height of his career.

A COMPELLING UNITY

The Brydges Library embodies most of what makes a Rudolph building so compelling…

  • interesting, interlocked geometries that are bathed in (and guide and modulate) the light

  • careful planning to arrange activities in a way that is enlivening and practical

  • bold and expressive use of structure and materials

  • sculptural mastery that brings the whole ensemble together into a forceful unity

The library’s entry facade, as seen in 1972, Joseph W. Molitor architectural photographs. Located in Columbia University, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Department of Drawings & Archives

The library’s entry facade, as seen in 1972, Joseph W. Molitor architectural photographs. Located in Columbia University, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Department of Drawings & Archives

BRYDGES PROJECTION.jpg

As an architect, Rudolph was the embodiment of daring—yet his work was tempered by years of experience in building, planning, and working with institutional clients. Photo by Kelvin Dickinson, courtesy the Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation © the estate of Paul Rudolph

While the library’s sculpturally rugged exterior is certainly memorable, it is the light-filled interior—rising up three storeys to prominent clerestory windows—which uplifts the spirit. Joseph W. Molitor architectural photographs. Located in Columbia University, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Department of Drawings & Archives

While the library’s sculpturally rugged exterior is certainly memorable, it is the light-filled interior—rising up three storeys to prominent clerestory windows—which uplifts the spirit. Joseph W. Molitor architectural photographs. Located in Columbia University, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Department of Drawings & Archives

TOUR INFO

LOCATION: Earl W. Brydges Library Building

ADDRESS: 1425 Main St. Niagara Falls, NY 14305

DATE: September 12th

TIME: 3pm-5pm

RESERVATIONS: https://preservationbuffaloniagara.org/modernism-week/

BACKGROUND/DESCRIPTION: With the goals of city-wide revitalization and the provision of a larger library to its increased population, the city of Niagara Falls commissioned Paul Rudolph (a unanimous pick from a field of five finalists) to design this building, which was constructed from 1969-74. Each floor of the Brutalist structure has a distinct use, with library space on the first, an auditorium and offices on the second, local archives on the third, and mechanical equipment on the fourth, each getting smaller as they go up. Large dormers protrude from the roof, providing additional light and adding to the exterior’s dynamic, angled texture. Inside, the central space is open all the way up to the ceiling and is flooded by natural light from the clerestory windows.

MODERNISM WEEK

The tour is part of Buffalo/Niagara Falls’ MODERNISM WEEK in Western New York, which is put on by Preservation Buffalo Niagara—an organization established in 2008, committed to “bringing resources and results that ensure that our historic places thrive for generations to come.”

MODERNISM WEEK includes tours other great buildings in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, and you can see the full schedule (and make reservations) here.

MODERNISM WEEK   , in the Buffalo-Niagara area, includes a number of beautiful sites, such as Louis Sullivan’s Guaranty Building in Buffalo. The above is an excerpt from their web page, which has the full schedule.

MODERNISM WEEK, in the Buffalo-Niagara area, includes a number of beautiful sites, such as Louis Sullivan’s Guaranty Building in Buffalo. The above is an excerpt from their web page, which has the full schedule.