At 11:00 a.m, museum and college staff and volunteers along with project supporters ceremoniously sign a banner that will be attached to the final steel beam of the new museum's construction. The beam will be lifted into place in a "topping off" ceremony weather permitting.
"This is a momentous occasion in the history of Buffalo State College and the Burchfield-Penney. The new museum will be a unique academic resource to the students and faculty of our college, as well as a cultural resource for the larger community. We especially look forward to strengthening the partnership between the museum and the college faculty, thereby enhancing learning opportunities for our students," stated Muriel A. Howard, Ph.D., president of Buffalo State College.
"We are witnessing today creation of one of the most significant additions to famed Buffalo architecture in almost a century," said William J. Magavern II, attorney and co-chair of the New Museum Steering Committee. "It is, for me, fulfilling a 20-year dream of a distinctive freestanding new home for the Burchfield-Penney, the acclaimed museum for Western New York art."
"Since the New Museum Project began in 1999, countless hours have been spent planning, designing and fundraising for this wonderful new facility," said Cindy Abbott Letro, chair of the Burchfield-Penney Board of Trustees. "Today is a day to celebrate what can be accomplished when the public and private sectors, artists and educators, and the community at large come together with a common goal for Western New York."
"The topping off ceremony signifies an important point in the story of the new Burchfield-Penney. Museum construction is on schedule for a spring 2008 completion, and plans for the June opening are already being put in place. This building's design and functionality are truly outstanding. It will anchor Buffalo's museum district as a distinctive area in this great city." stated Stanley Kardonsky, Ph.D., Buffalo State College vice president for Finance and Management.
The new 75,000 square foot museum, designed by Gwathmey Siegel and Associates Architects, is scheduled to open in the spring of 2008. The two-story building will be the Burchfield-Penney's first free-standing home and have a major presence on Elmwood Avenue in the heart of Buffalo's Museum District. The new facility doubles gallery exhibition areas and provides more than six times as much space available for education and public programs.
The building's exterior combines geometric forms, patterns and materials and includes walkways, gardens and sculpture in a park-like, pedestrian-friendly setting adjacent to the Elmwood Avenue elevation. These features complement the facade and welcome visitors to the building's entrance off of Rockwell Road. The Rockwell Road entrance allows for convenient access to the facility for pedestrians, the Buffalo State community as well as bus and automobile traffic.
The total project cost of the new Burchfield-Penney Art Center is $30 million. An additional $3 million is being raised to fund an endowment. To date, more than $30 million has been raised. During the construction phase of the project, the museum project will generate more than 560 jobs and will have an economic impact of more than $54 million.
About the Burchfield-Penney Art Center
The Burchfield-Penney Art Center is a museum dedicated to the art and vision of Charles E. Burchfield and distinguished artists of Buffalo Niagara and Western New York State. Through its affiliation with Buffalo State College, the museum encourages learning and celebrates our richly creative and diverse community. For more information, call (716) 878-6011 or visit www.burchfield-penney.org.
About Buffalo State College
The only State University of New York college located in a metropolitan area, Buffalo State College's 11,000 students enjoy tremendous advantages both on the 125-acre campus and throughout the community. Founded in 1871, Buffalo State is the largest four-year college in SUNY system, with more than 130 undergraduate and 44 graduate academic programs in the arts, sciences, education, and professional programs. For more information, visit www.buffalostate.edu
About Gwathmey Siegel and Associates Architects
Founded in 1968, Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects is a New York-based architecture firm offering master planning, architectural, interior and product design services. Gwathmey Siegel has completed over three hundred projects for corporate, educational, cultural, healthcare, government and private clients throughout the United States and abroad.
The 65-person firm has an international reputation for architectural excellence, confirmed by 100 design awards, continuing recognition in the professional and general press, and inclusion in exhibitions and histories of contemporary architecture.
In 1982 Gwathmey Siegel & Associates became the youngest firm to receive the American Institute of Architects' highest honor--the Firm Award--for "approaching every project with a fresh eye, a meticulous attention to detail, a keen appreciation for environmental and economic concerns ... and a strong belief in collaborative effort."
The firm is well known for its holistic approach, that integrates interior design details and site related improvements as integral parts of the architectural solution.