Siloed Dreams

Siloed Dreams

"Siloed Dreams": A still from the film, of a grain silo and elevator in Buffalo's "Silo City" district. 

The 1825 opening of the Erie Canal established Buffalo as the central point of connection between the developed ports and population centers of the Northeast and the newly-seeded towns and fields of the Midwest. Industries flourished around the transshipment of grain and, in 1842, the first steam-powered grain elevator in the world was constructed on the bank of the Buffalo River. The city's concrete grain silos and daylight factories provided a direct source of inspiration for modernism in Europe, and photographs of Buffalo's grain elevators appeared in the seminal texts of Walter Gropius, Erich Mendelsohn, and Le Corbusier. While changes in transportation patterns in the mid-twentieth century led to the gradual abandonment of the silos, they live on as monuments of American ingenuity.

Visions and Works


Architecture faculty members Nicholas Bruscia and Nicholas Bruscia have won an international competition with their proposal to build a wall from panels of super-thin steel folded into wild geometric patterns.


Elevator B, a honeycomb-themed tower housing bees on Buffalo’s waterfront designed and built by five architecture students, has won a highly regarded international architecture award.

The collection of grain elevators at Silo City is an impressive enough site, the industrial behemoths towering over the Buffalo River. But a project created by UB freshman architecture students this spring lends a unique perspective to the grain elevators, and the landscape.
Projecting forward from Buffalo’s legacy in material innovation, this group explores constructive sensibilities and investigate how our culture is deeply embedded in material artifacts. Pursue design, production, and potential materials through full-scale fabrication, assembly, and installation.