Canisius College, Montante Cultural Center

Buffalo, New York

  • FIRM



    Canisius College

  • AREA

    20,000 sq.ft.





Dedicated in 1926, the former St. Vincent de Paul Church is a historic Buffalo landmark. The registered building is a rare example of Byzantine-Lombardic architecture. While preserving the integrity and beauty of the church, the renovation transformed the building into the college’s cultural center.

The program called for an auditorium suitable for a variety ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$170.00CITATIONGold CitationFEATURED IN2001 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYAuditoriums/Music Rooms performances, including lectures, plays, concerts and multimedia presentations. Additional space for smaller performances, meetings, receptions and lectures also was desired. Infrastructure systems needed to be upgraded for contemporary uses and, most important, the acoustics of the space—historically very poor—needed to meet the performance criteria of the multiple uses.

The source of the acoustical problems is the volume of space under the dome. The challenge was to introduce sound-reflecting surfaces within the domed volume, while preserving the view of the striking mosaics and architectural details. The solution: establishing new constructed pieces as an insertion within the existing undisturbed fabric of the building. The new is held away from the existing. The materials and forms of the new are articulated in a contemporary manner, and by virtue of contrast within the historic shell, allow each to coexist and mutually enhance each other—the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

"Excellent restoration! Sensitivity to the original design while meeting the program. Innovative design in acoustical panels, seating and lighting."--2001 jury