Plan for Elmwood, Forest tears at fabric of the village
Architect Steve Carmina is respected for his part in several stellar adaptive reuse projects in Western New York, as noted by The News in the nice feature about him last Sunday.
However, the plan he has put forward for the Chasen Affinity properties at Elmwood and Forest is a marked departure from this sensibility and creativity. His plan would demolish 12 adjacent 2½-story structures, which epitomize the vintage, scale, placement and style of Elmwood Village. In their places would be crammed a single five-story monolith the length of a football field.
While attractive, the building Carmina has proposed does not fit in the Elmwood Village, and will not enhance it – just as the other large-scale buildings that have recently intruded into the Elmwood Strip have not enhanced the Elmwood Village but torn at the fabric of what makes it charming and unique. And he surely knows that the greenest solution for that corner is not ripping out a dozen buildings and throwing them in a landfill, but building on the labor and materials they already embody.
If any architect could devise a plan for adaptive reuse of these properties – one that would both profit the developers and preserve that corner of the historic Elmwood Village – it would be the talented Carmina.
Susan M. Davis