ECHDC and HHL Architects Announce Longshed Building Awarded Local Architects’ Community Award

November 22, 2021

2021 AIA Buffalo/WNY Design Awards recognize positive impact of Longshed Building

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) today announced that the Longshed Building was awarded the Community Award at the 2021 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Buffalo/WNY Design Awards.  HHL Architects nominated the building for the local AIA award.  The Longshed Building, located on the northern end of the Central Wharf at Canalside in Buffalo, is a two-story, gabled-roof wooden structure that reflects the Central Wharf site’s history. The building incorporates elements from the Joy and Webster Storehouse, located on the site in the early 1800s.  The award, presented at a Nov. 11 ceremony, was selected by the AIA Buffalo/WNY Awards Committee, and recognizes a single project that represents both superior design and positive regional impact. See picture of the Longshed Building here.

“I congratulate HHL Architects and the entire team that worked on the Longshed project for receiving the local chapter of AIA’s Community Award,” said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia.  “The Longshed Building brings us closer to our heritage and instills a sense of pride as our community comes together to watch history come alive.  I encourage everyone to visit Canalside to watch the replica of the historic Erie Canal Boat that’s being built at the site—and even volunteer to join the construction crew.”

The new, two-story, 4,500 gross square feet, multi-purpose building is a homage to the former canal loading/unloading buildings and activities and today serves as shade and shelter for visitors of Canalside. This LEED certified building has a wood structural insulated panel (SIP) envelope and cedar exterior wood horizontal Dutch lap & clapboard siding. The interior has vertical cedar wood planking on the walls with an exposed heavy-timber structure. 

“This project is highly visible to the community and adds to the value of Canalside as a public space,” said the jury, composed of the AIA Buffalo/WNY Awards Committee, in written comments.  “The uncomplicated plan of the building allows for its contents, such as the construction of a historic Erie Canal packet boat to be highlighted and elevated.”

“It was a privilege and an honor to have the HHL Architects team lead the design of one of the first new buildings at the new Canalside boardwalk, particularly one with an homage to the former industrial history of the area, and also with a purposeful community-centric intended use,” said Matthew W. Meier, HHL Architects Partner.  “The fact that constructing a replica Erie Canal vessel will be the first use of the Longshed building is a testament to telling the unique story of the Erie Canal, this terminus site, and that of the rise of Buffalo.  I’m so proud of the HHL design staff, our talented consultants: Tredo Engineers, M/E Engineering, HLB Lighting Design, Ravi Engineering, and EDR Engineers, to design such a handsome building and for The Liro Group, Savarino Construction Services, their subcontractors, and particularly Timberbuilt for building a beautiful and great new asset to Buffalo’s waterfront.”

The Longshed Building is currently being used by staff and volunteers from the Buffalo Maritime Center to construct a replica of the 1825 Erie Canal Boat, Seneca Chief, that transported Governor DeWitt Clinton from Buffalo to New York City to mark the official opening of the Erie Canal.  Through 2024, the public will be able to watch the boat being built and  also volunteer to join the construction crew. Those wishing to volunteer should visit the Buffalo Maritime Center's website at

“It’s been an incredible experience building the Erie Canal Boat, Seneca Chief, in the Longshed at Canalside along with our staff, community members, and volunteers,” said Brian Trzeciak, Executive Director of the Buffalo Maritime Center.  “The craftsmanship and design of the Longshed is inspiring to those working in this beautiful building and those who are visiting to learn about the Erie Canal and our project. The Buffalo Maritime Center is fortunate to be the first community organization to utilize such a proud icon of Buffalo’s waterfront.”

Once completed, the Erie Canal Boat will be relocated to the Commercial Slip, where the Buffalo Maritime Center will make it available to tourists interested in learning more about the region’s past. The boat will also tour other sections of the Erie Canal system to promote Buffalo and its history. When the Erie Canal Boat Project is completed, the Longshed will become a year-round hall that can be used as a flexible multipurpose space for educational and historical programming by cultural organizations or to host large public gatherings. The building will also be an important part of the 200th anniversary celebration of the Erie Canal's opening in 2025. 

About American Institute of Architects 

The American Institute of Architects has been the leading professional membership association for licensed architects, emerging professionals, and allied partners since 1857.  The AIA serves as the voice of the architecture profession and a resource for our members in service to society.  The organization carries out its goal through advocacy, information, and community. 

Each year the AIA sponsors hundreds of continuing education experiences to help architects maintain their licensure.  It also sets the industry standard in contract documents with more than 100 forms and contracts used in the design and construction industry. 

In many ways, the AIA serves as an advocate of the architectural profession and promoting design excellence and outstanding professional achievement through various awards programs and promotional efforts at National, State, and Local levels.  The American Institute of Architects provides a community in which architects can thrive. 

About Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation 

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) is governed by a nine-member board consisting of seven voting directors and two non-voting, ex-officio directors. The seven voting directors are recommended by the New York State Governor and are appointed by the New York State Urban Development Corporation d/b/a Empire State Development as sole shareholder of ECHDC. The two non-voting, ex-officio director positions are held by the Erie County Executive and the City of Buffalo Mayor. 

Pamm Lent (Governor’s Office) | [email protected] | (716) 846-8309
Laura Magee (ECHDC) | [email protected] | (716) 846-8239