Heller Manus Architects and Hornblower Win Niagara Falls Competition

SAN FRANCISCO, March 27, 2012 — Heller Manus Architects is pleased to announce that Hornblower Canada, Co. has been selected by the Niagara Parks Commission to provide the boat tour and landside facilities at the Niagara Falls Gorge. Heller Manus is the design architect for Hornblower’s winning bid.

“Our success – following Alcatraz Landing in San Francisco and The Statue of Liberty in New York – demonstrates the value of design in the educational tour experience for the natural wonder of Niagara Falls,” says Clark Manus, FAIA, CEO of Heller Manus, Partner-in-Charge of the project, and 87th President of the AIA. Heller Manus’s winning design creates an inviting entry and boarding areas, a visitor’s center, and private riverside event space for Hornblower. The design is comprised of an entry pavilion located on a top plateau and the boat landing facilities located adjacent to the Niagara River and Falls.  Housing both the ticket and information booth buildings, the entry pavilion is covered by three fabric structures, which provide protection for people waiting in line and become a visual gateway icon for visitors.  Once visitors purchase their tickets, they will take an elevator down to the river level’s boat landing facilities, comprised of the visitor pavilion, embarkation pavilion, and event center. Adjacent to the embarkation pavilion will be a picnic area where visitors can dine and view the river.  The event center will be housed in an existing brick building and will contain a café, interpretative displays, special events spaces, restrooms, lockers and storage space.  There will be a large exterior deck on the second level where visitors can dine and have a spectacular view of Niagara Falls. Along with the elevator access, a shuttle tram will be used to bring visitors down to the boat landing area using an existing access road.  An abandoned funicular is also anticipated to be restored for service for additional capacity.  The facilities will be designed to accommodate special events for large groups both in the daytime and in the evening. In addition, Hornblower plans to introduce a new, modern ticketing system and build new vessels with more available viewing space and multi-lingual audio options.

Hornblower Canada, Co.’s parent company is based in San Francisco, CA, and currently operates the two largest ferry concessions for the National Park Service in the United States – the ferries to Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay and ferries to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island Immigration Museum in New York Harbor. For both of these ferry concessions, ­­­Heller Manus Architects has designed facilities that focus on creativity, accessibility, safety and comfort. Hornblower will begin Niagara operations in Spring 2014, and vessel construction and facilities permitting and planning will begin immediately.

About Heller Manus Architects

Founded over 25 years ago, Heller Manus Architects is an internationally recognized, San Francisco- based architecture and urban design firm, with offices in San Francisco and Shanghai. Their depth of experience encompasses a wide range of major new construction and historical renovation projects including transportation, mixed-use, commercial, residential, civic, rehabilitation and adaptive re-use, performance facilities, sustainability, retail and hotel, master planning and urban design. With their unique experience in difficult approvals situations, Heller Manus provides a tailored personal approach to the design and planning situation of each project. Always looking to expand the concept of building usage, Heller Manus has positively improved and engaged each building’s particular environment. Since 2005, the firm’s practice area has grown to include several major projects throughout China including Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Inner Mongolia, and the greater Beijing area. Visit www.hellermanus.com.

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