Started in the 1990s by a retired school teacher, Chuck LaChiusa continued his interest in Buffalo architecture by creating a web site that, in his words, “took on a life of its own”. Chuck is neither a web nerd nor a web designer and he still uses a 1990s web building program that lacks today’s bells and whistles. For LaChiusa, it is the content that matters; content that has reached epic proportions with information on thousands of places, an estimated 40,000 photos, and thousands of scanned documents.
BA&H has become a vast storehouse of information on American architecture, using Buffalo as a laboratory. Within the site is Chuck’s Illustrated Architectural Dictionary, with 845 listed terms. Terms like Capital and Eaves are defined and then illustrated with dozens of internal links to photos of Buffalo buildings. When needed, Chuck provides examples from national and international buildings.
BA&H has 8 other dictionaries, including the frequently visited Illustrated Furniture Glossary, with its descriptions, photos and internal links for over 400 terms, like Pier Glass. There is another dictionary for Stained Glass, one for Iconography and, as a Buffalo special, Grain Elevators.
BA&H’s Architectural Styles highlights 37 styles and nine 20th Century substyles, with written descriptions and numerous photos (example: Italianate In Buffalo).
You must also check out Chuck’s List of Architects and firms with projects in Buffalo; 171 are listed, with 242 internal links showing one or more examples of each of their projects. You’ll be impressed with the info Chuck provides on a roster of iconic architects with projects in Buffalo, including H.H. Richardson, Eliel and Eero Saarinen, Louis Sullivan, McKim, Mead and White, Olmsted & Vaux, and homegrown notables such as Louise Blanchard Bethune (the AIA’s first female member) and Green & Wicks.
When you visit Chuck’s site, plan on exploring Buffalo just for the fun of it. Here’s sampler of some of the places you can enjoy: Williams-Butler Mansion American Elevator Delaware Park Darwin Martin House Kleinhans Music Hall The Breckenridge Street Church Forest Lawn Cemetery As you explore these and other places, you’ll find links to their architects and multiple other links that illustrate architectural terms and styles. Warning: BA&H can be addictive!
If even possible, printing BA&H’s vast number of pages would create a comprehensive encyclopedia on architecture (and consume way too many trees). Fortunately, unlike the ephemeral nature of virtually all web sites, BA&H will live on as a vast archive of architectural content. In 2016, SUNY Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning agreed to maintain this website in perpetuity. So, BH&A will continue long after LaChiusa himself, providing all of us and future generations a guide to Buffalo and American architecture as it was so well recorded in the early 21st Century.
Henry McCartney, now retired, was executive director of the Landmark Society of Western New York from 1984-2005 and of Preservation Buffalo Niagara from 2009-2012.