The Olympic Towers building, formerly The YMCA Central Building, is an architecturally and historically significant building due to its skillful and innovative setting as well as its design by one of Buffalo’s most prominent turn-of-the-century architectural firms.
The building was commissioned in 1901 as a new facility for the second oldest and fourth largest YMCA chapter in the country. The “Y” having outgrown its old building, began inviting architects to submit plans for a new “home”. Its architects, Green and Wicks, were chosen as the result of a design competition that was judged by nationally prominent architect critic, ADF Hamlin. In designing the English-Flemish Renaissance style building, Green and Wicks took advantage of the broad property just off of Niagara Square, and constructed the building to dominate the triangular intersections.
The resulting ten story tower was one of the first tall buildings to be constructed in downtown Buffalo. Green and Wicks were also sensitive to the philosophy of the YMCA movement and incorporated several features into the building in order to encourage single young men to adopt the conservative life style promoted by the association. The Buffalo YMCA was among the first to provide extensive accommodations for lodgers and was the very first to include a spa - features that later became standard in YMCA buildings across the country.
Although the building's setting has been compromised as a result of new construction which altered the city street plan, the YMCA retains integrity of design and materials and also recalls both Buffalo’s greatest period of urbanization and the history of the YMCA in the United States.
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