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Kensington Garden Apartment Complex

Kensington Garden Apartment Complex

West Cleveland Drive, Buffalo, NY

  • Date Built: 1941-42

Preservation Studios’ Role:

Preservation Studios completed the Part One of the Historic Preservation Certification Application as well as the National Register nomination

History:

The Kensington Gardens Apartment Complex was built in 1941-42 for developer Godfrey Weinstein and was designed by the New York City firm of William I. Hohasuer Architecture and Engineering. Godfrey Weinstein served as the general contractor for the project. Kensington Gardens is a multi-unit apartment complex containing one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments in a variety of detached and semi-attached buildings. The buildings are grouped around grassed courts facing the curving interior streets of West Cleveland Drive and New Southgate Road and bordered on the edges of the complex by Kensington Avenue and Eggert Road. There are 10 court areas created on the site and three building types within the courts. As built, there were a total of 280 apartment units in 59 detached or semi-attached buildings.

Godfrey Weinstein came to Buffalo in 1940 at the suggestion of the Federal Housing Administration due to the identified need for housing for war related workers in the Buffalo area. The land identified for the complex was on the eastern most border of the City of Buffalo and, consisting of farm parcels, was truly a rural setting within the city limits.

Under Section 207 of the National Housing Act, the FHA became involved in the development of standards for the creation of multiunit housing communities.   Taking the model from the success of garden city planned communities for Radburn, NY and Chatham Village, PA, the FHA design approvals called for shared green-spaces, low density housing, and wide, tree-lined boulevards connecting all uses. Typical of many of the period’s planned communities; the buildings were designed with Colonial Revival influences. Over 50 detached or loosely connected buildings housed the units and they were grouped in U-shaped formation or as clustered two family structures. True to the Garden City philosophy, the built structures occupied only 19 percent of the original 22 acres with “50 per cent…landscaped with lawns, trees and shrubs” and allowing for ample recreation space. Within, the apartments (in various sizes to accommodate the needs of a variety of workers) boasted cross ventilation, hardwood floors, separate dining areas in even the smallest units and kitchens equipped with gas refrigerators and ranges. Automatic oil burners heated the buildings. When built it was the largest privately constructed housing project in the City of Buffalo.


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