Client

Empire State Development / USA Niagara

Location

Niagara Falls, NY

Key Contact

Kim Edited 1
Kimberly Michaels, RLA, LEED AP Vice President, Director of Landscape Architecture

The transformation of the former Cataract Theater and Wintergarden site into a vibrant outdoor facility represents a significant enhancement to downtown Niagara Falls. As landscape architects for this project, we aimed to convert an empty parcel into a dynamic and inviting urban space that would serve the community and celebrate the site’s historical significance. Located at the heart of the Old Falls Street Entertainment District, the site provides a welcoming gateway to downtown and a new venue for public gatherings. 

Our project goal was to create a multifunctional space that offers permanent structural seating and a corner stage, which defines the edge of the streetscape. The stage serves as a venue for civic events but also accommodates informal gatherings and impromptu performances. Sculptural overhead structures support catenary baffles, offering shade to visitors both on stage and in the central lawn area. Peripheral landscaping further enhances the space, delineating areas for pop-up vendors and additional movable tables and seating. 

Anchoring the site is an iconic marquee sculpture, a visual beacon that celebrates the site’s historical role as a center for urban entertainment. Drawing inspiration from the architectural elements of the Cataract Theater and the textural qualities of nearby Niagara Falls, the marquee integrates seamlessly with the site’s design. The addition of integrated lighting highlights key elements of the space, creating an inviting urban environment and a versatile venue for public programming.

Photos © James Cavanaugh Photography | cavphoto.com

Project Photos

Cataract Commons
Cataract Commons
Cataract Commons
Cataract Commons
Cataract Commons