WNED’s Horizons Gallery
Images of The Lafayette
by Jacqueline Albarella
Curated by Gerald Mead
Weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
140 Lower Terrace, next to the Adam’s Mark Hotel in downtown Buffalo
Phone: (716) 845-7000
Free admission and parking
Tuesday, July 10
About the Exhibition
The photographs in this exhibition poignantly capture the restoration of downtown Buffalo’s opulent Hotel Lafayette, built in 1904. The Lafayette was once regarded as one of the nation’s finest hotels and considered architect Louise Bethune’s masterpiece. Left to decline for decades, the hotel was recently restored to its historic grandeur.
Granted total access during the restoration process, artist and award winning documentary filmmaker Jackie Albarella captured the building’s journey from flophouse to historic landmark. For the past year, she documented each stage of the hotel’s rebirth, walking through dust-filled rooms, abandoned basement areas and ceiling holes.
Albarella’s photographs depict the Lafayette’s transformation — from individual details to entire rooms — illustrating the emergence of beauty from states of decay. Elegant details, including ornate plasterworks, crystal chandeliers and intricately patterned terrazzo floors, reflect the building’s age-old craftsmanship and beauty.
“They are powerful images that serve as a tribute to Bethune and the many artisans who executed (and restored) the architect’s elaborate designs,” says Albarella, who describes witnessing the restoration as “a hunt.”
“Modern drop ceilings were pulled down and an art deco ceiling appeared; that was pulled down and the original, ornate plaster beams were revealed,” she said. “Doors painted Pepto-Bismol pink were refinished to unmask the original solid mahogany. Painted white chandeliers with missing crystals were restored to reveal sparkling brass, elegantly engraved with the letters ‘H’ and ‘L.’ ”
For more information about the artist, visit albarellamedia.com/gallery.