Buffalo Architectural Spotlight: The Guaranty Building

By Brian Hayden

Published on | Last Updated

Taking a walk through Downtown Buffalo affords you an opportunity to walk past an American masterpiece.

The Guaranty Building has stood proudly at the corner of Church and Pearl Streets for more than 120 years. Buffalo businessman Hascal L. Taylor commissioned the architecture team of Adler and Sullivan to build “the largest and best office building in the city.”

Taylor died before the building was complete, but he would undoubtedly be proud of the results. Considered a prototype for the modern skyscraper, the Guaranty features a delicately detailed terra cotta façade and sumptuous interior that has made it a staple of architecture textbooks and a destination for lovers of great design from around the world. Stand in front of the Guaranty and look up; the building’s intricacies and texture are jaw-dropping.


Now, there’s more to see at the Guaranty than ever before thanks to the building’s first floor interpretive center. The presence of the center (open on weekdays) and its exhibits, models and displays will give visitors an even deeper understanding of this great American building.

The building became one of architect Louis Sullivan’s most famous; Sullivan, along with Frank Lloyd Wright and Henry Hobson Richardson, are considered the big three American architects who left their mark on Buffalo.

The Guaranty Building with St. Paul’s Cathedral

Now, each architect’s signature designs are being prepared for the New Buffalo. Between the Guaranty’s interpretive center, the completion of Wright’s Martin House restoration, and the redevelopment of the Richardson Olmsted Campus after 40 years of dormancy, Buffalo has cemented its status as a leading American city for architectural tourism.

Guaranty Building, 140 Pearl Street, Buffalo, NY 14202 | Additional Information

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Brian Hayden

Brian Hayden is a lifelong Buffalonian and storyteller, author of the new book “111 Places In Buffalo That You Must Not Miss,” and director of communications at The Buffalo History Museum.