Last week I returned to Buffalo, New York for the Society of Architectural Historians‘ annual meeting. As usual, I took advantage of the combination of arriving early and a little free time to explore the city. While my last trip was primarily dedicated to photographing the great buildings of the city’s expansion era, I had greater latitude this time around. I’ve pulled out some favorite images below, but feel free to visit flickr for additional photographs from both trips.
I was most intrigued by the city’s preponderance of “telescope houses,” or buildings that were enlarged through rear additions that incrementally reduce in scale. The result is houses that seemingly could be collapsed into themselves.
The buildings are located throughout the city but are clustered on the East Side. There, the combination of small houses, narrow lots, growing families and limited resources seems to have led to the distinctive expansion patterns. Years of concentrated divestment and neglect now provide windows into back and side yards to view the full depth of the houses.
The wide-open views also reveal the tenuous condition of many of the buildings — and the neighborhoods as a whole.
While I spent a couple of days documenting the telescope houses, I still made time for the city’s remarkable grain elevators. A few photographs of those better-documented Buffalo structures are below.