Guaranty Building

Buffalo, NY

Louis Sullivan’s most mature skyscraper design has a ruddy terra cotta façade with an elaborate capital comprised of the cornice, the frieze and a row of oculus windows. The Guaranty Building is also known as the Prudential Building.

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Scope of work

  • A digital video camera was used in conjunction with a remote pan/zoom head on an adjustable boom mounted to a custom-designed trolley. A video monitor allowed the clients to view the conditions of the cornice fascia as the work progressed. A fiberglass measuring tape taped to the fascia served as a fiduciary line, to reference the location of deteriorated areas.
  • The deliverables included two copies of the video tape, in VHS format and a roof plan.


  • Vertical Access provided a unique and inexpensive solution to the inspection of the cornice fascia. Other solutions, including a swing stage, would have been more time consuming, expensive and potentially damaging to the cornice.
  • The video method allowed the architect to view the footage as many times as necessary to fully understand the extent and locations of the deterioration of the terra cotta.

Original architect

  • Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler (completed 1896)

Building owner

  • Hodgson Russ Attorneys LLP

In collaboration with