The new Niagara Falls Visitor Center, located within Niagara Falls State Park, will offer an immersive experience, both inside the building and out, as it takes visitors on a journey spanning the eras of geological formation and human impacts on the falls and highlighting the flora and fauna of the environs.
Designed by GWWO Architects, the 29,000-sf center will include visitor orientation, a lobby, interactive exhibits, a gift shop, dining, outdoor terraces, and an overlook. The building frames views to the head of the falls and gracefully transitions visitors between the formal entrance gardens in the upper site and the Frederick Law Olmsted- designed landscape of the lower grove.
The expansive glass facade maximizes views and offers continuous connections to the falls throughout the lobby and exhibit areas. The building will be integrated with its site and history via natural materials such as limestone sourced from the Niagara escarpment, wood ceilings, and blackened metal roof and soffit.
The facility’s design will emphasize nature and allow visitors to choose their own path and level of discovery, which will allow for social distancing and crowd control. Outdoor interpretation, dining, and a new accessible path will provide safe spaces for visitors to gather.
The new visitor center will also include sustainable features such as bifacial photovoltaic panels that will be expressed around the perimeter of the roof of the building, with openings in the entrance canopy that will allow them to be viewed from below. Two cisterns will be installed to capture water from the building’s roof to irrigate native plantings on the site.
The Niagara Falls Visitor Center is expected to open in Spring 2023.