Albright-Knox - Table of Contents

2002 Photographs
Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Interior Sculpture Court of the 1905 Building
1285 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, New York

Erected: 1900-1905 at a cost of over $1 million.
Materials: 5,000 tons of marble were used in the building. When completed, the gallery had 102 columns, more than any building in America except the Capitol. The marble on the exterior and in the Sculpture Court comes from a quarry located near Baltimore, Maryland, the same source that was used for the Washington Monument.
Architect: Green and Wicks
Style: Neoclassical
Model for the building:

The Gallery in its external and interior detail follows almost exactly the high Ionic order of the Erectheum The introduction of the acropolitan temple in museum design was first initiated by the German architect Leo von Klenze in his Glyptothek, Munich (1816-20). Von Klenze's greatest contribution was to arrange the floor plan so that the central sculpture court became the main hall from which all other galleries could be reached. The resulting plan eliminates the need for corridors in the interior and provides maximum exhibition space within a given area.

In adapting this plan to meet the requirements of a more modern art gallery, Green and Wicks provided antechambers leading from the center of the north and south sides of the court into the picture galleries. The architectural serenity of these transepts, which are completed with columns supporting finely carved white marble entablatures, are among the museum's most elegant features, a fact recognized by the Gallery's directors, who have consistently resisted the temptation to remodel in these areas. In order to facilitate crowd flow, Green and Wicks' floor plan called for doorways connecting all galleries. The result, as noted by an English architect in 1911, was a loss of valuable wall space that could only be regained by blocking up some of the doors in the smaller galleries. This deficiency in Green's plan was noted and acted upon in later renovations.

The chief space of the interior is the colonnaded sculpture court entered from the Delaware Park side portico. It and the exhibition galleries were the first to employ electric lights above the skylights to ensure adequate illumination, even on Buffalo's dreariest winter days.


  • "Buffalo Architecture: A Guide," by Francis R. Kowsky, et. al. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1981
  • "The Gallery Architects: Edward B. Green and Gordon Bunshaft," by John Douglas Sanford

Ionic colonnade

Skylight ... Ionic  columns and pilasters

Coffered ceiling featuring egg-and-dart molding

Top molding: Bead-and reel ...  Egg-and-dart ... Leaf-and-dart ...  Dentils 

Ionic column: Leaf-and-dart ... Volutes ... egg-and-dart ... Bead-and reel ... Fluted shaft

Entablature:   Bead-and reel ...  Egg-and-dart ... Leaf-and-dart ...  Dentils 


Entablature  above columns

Entablature:  Leaf-and-dart ... Two Paterae  ... Greek key

Ionic column: Leaf-and-dart ... Volutes ... Egg-and-dart ... Bead-and reel ... Fluted shaft

Note side surrounds (detail below:)

Carved marble moldingLeaf-and-dart ...    Bead-and reel

Bronze door

Marble surround around wooden door

Wooden door molding features  Bead-and reel  and   Leaf-and-dart

View east: Delaware Park and Hoyt Lake

Photos and their arrangement 2002 Chuck LaChiusa
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