PAU’s Niagara Falls Gateways Project Reimagines a Former Hydraulic Canal as an Engaging Public Space

PAU’s Niagara Falls Gateways Project Reimagines a Former Hydraulic Canal as an Engaging Public Space

New York-based studio Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) has been selected to lead the design for the Niagara Falls Heritage Gateway project. This reimagined public gateway aims to reinvigorate the site, attract new visitors, and stimulate the local economy. As part of the “Downtown Niagara Falls Development Strategy,” the project also aims to strengthen the connections between downtown Niagara Falls and the Niagara Falls State Park. The project is expected to be completed in 2024.

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NFGH - Canal Gorge Aerial. Image Courtesy of PAU

The scope of the design includes the reinterpreting of a stretch of the historic Niagara Falls Power Company’s hydraulic canal and its transformation into a pedestrian walkway. The intervention will illustrate the long history of large-scale electricity production and its central role in the development of American society.

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NFGH . Image Courtesy of PAU

An observation deck is planned for the border of the Niagara Falls State Park, which will offer visitors panoramic views of the American Rapids and Goat Island. The design aims to preserve the existing tree coverage while increasing the attractivity of this outdoor setting. Additionally, DiFranco Park will be redeveloped to include a multi-use pavilion and spaces for recreation, gathering, and outdoor activities.

The $12 million project stems from the strategic plan for the de redevelopment of several vacant or underutilized state-owned properties in the city. It includes several interim interventions focused on the northern and southern ends of the proposed Downtown Niagara Falls Heritage Park, all aimed at creating a vibrant downtown to draw visitors and residents to both the city and the awe-inspiring sight of Niagara Falls.

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NFGH - Heritage Path roposal. Image Courtesy of PAU

The Niagara Falls Heritage Gateways project is a chance to demonstrate how thoughtful design can restore rather than remake our cities. It is by building on a foundation of shared history—instead of trying to reinvent cities from scratch—that we truly strengthen and benefit communities. Public infrastructure is at the center of successful urbanism. - Vishaan Chakrabarti, Founder and Creative Director of PAU

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Courtesy of PAU

In 2021, PAU also shared its plans for the urban design and economic development of Niagra Falls’ downtown area as part of its strategy to grow as a global tourist destination. Urbanist, architect, and professor Vishaan Chakrabarti, the founder of Practice for Architecture and Urbanism has also participated in several podcasts hosted by y Vanessa M. Quirk where he discusses important shifts in the practice of conservation and planning, urban history, the affordability crisis, and its detrimental effect on progress and the development of better cities.

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Cite: Maria-Cristina Florian. "PAU’s Niagara Falls Gateways Project Reimagines a Former Hydraulic Canal as an Engaging Public Space" 24 Jan 2023. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/995406/paus-niagara-falls-gateways-project-reimagines-a-former-hydraulic-canal-as-an-engaging-public-space> ISSN 0719-8884

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