BUFFALO, N.Y. — During the day, light pours in from two sides through the more than 72,000 holes laser-precision drilled into the stainless steel panels that veil the building’s façade.
At night, an inversion occurs and light glows from within, identifying the structure’s presence in the surrounding neighborhood.
For his newest project, University at Buffalo architect Christopher Romano embarked upon a two-year journey through the manipulation of light and metal as design materials. The result is a signature architectural structure nestled in the shadows of three iconic buildings on Buffalo’s historic East Side.
It’s called Light/Station, and the recently completed project has transformed an abandoned gas mart into a striking 1,545-square-foot design studio, green room and conference facility for Buffalo-based Torn Space, a critically acclaimed, avant-garde theater company.
Light and history were core components of Romano’s design concept from the beginning.
“Light serves as the connective tissue for all the components of the façade. It’s a material. It’s a central element to the multi-layered façade, where the lighting is a layer behind the steel panels, which typically isn’t done because it’s risky,” says Romano, who designed the façade through his firm Studio NORTH Architecture.
Romano is also a research assistant professor in UB’s School of Architecture and Planning. A small team of UB architecture students also worked on the project.
Some of the smaller prototypes were developed and tested using the school’s digital fabrication equipment under the direction of Daniel Vrana, a staff member in the Fabrication Workshop and current employee at Studio NORTH Architecture.
A LOOK AT LIGHT/STATION (PHOTOS BY DOUGLAS LEVERE)