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Walkway work begins

Foundation work for a controversial bridge that would tie into the architecturally acclaimed Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Center has begun.

The $1.4 million bridge would extend from the three-story rectangular wall of translucent, channeled glass at the building's Ellicott Street entrance to the University at Buffalo's Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.

Architect Mehrdad Yazdani, who works for Cannon Design and is based in Los Angeles, designed the modern building highlighted by curved, aluminum-painted panels. He also helped draw up the transparent bridge with a steel structure, but says he never expected it to be built.

Yazdani has made it known in recent weeks he strongly opposes the bridge and hopes decision-makers will reconsider. Larry Quinn, the man who hired Yazdani while serving as the medical center's representative, agrees.

"If you look at the Buffalo landscape, it's the first piece of great architecture in this century and we're violating it two years later," Quinn said of the research center. "People went to great lengths to produce something magnificent. It's a shame."

Dr. George T. DeTitta, chief executive officer of Hauptman-Woodward, declined comment.

The stated rationale for the bridge over Ellicott Street has been to foster collaboration between the two medical buildings. It would also provide shelter from winter conditions.

The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation, which helped fund the medical building, recently dropped its stipulation that a bridge be built.

e-mail: msommer@buffnews.com

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