Preserving Buffalo's skyline

Grove Roofing Services restores multiple roof systems on Erie Community College


Regarded for its architectural structures, Buffalo, N.Y., has many buildings and landscapes designed by Louis Sullivan, Fredrick Law Olmsted and Frank Lloyd Wright. Included as a defining structure on the downtown skyline is James Knox Taylor's 5 1/2-story pink granite building originally designed for federal offices.

Constructed in 1901, the Gothic-style building is defined by recessed arches, projecting gargoyles and eagles, and a 244-foot-tall signature Flemish Gothic tower. Locally referred to as the "old post office," the building originally housed a post office and other federal offices, including two federal district courtrooms and the Department of the Interior.

In 1971, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Soon thereafter, the building began to deteriorate and faced the prospect of demolition. In 1980, a plan to reuse the building to house Erie Community College's city campus saved the building from a wrecking ball. However, the budget to preserve the entire building proved inadequate, so measures were taken in 1982 to preserve sections until sufficient funding was available. Among the short-term solutions, an asphalt shingle roof system replaced the original clay tiles as a compromise until proper reconstruction could be conducted at a later date.

In the late 1990s, Buffalo-based architectural firm Flynn Battaglia Architects PC performed a campus evaluation that served as a template for restoration design work. When financed for bidding in 2010, the scope of work included restoring 400 windows, broad granite façade repairs and an extensive multiphase roof system restoration project.