Trahan Architects connect project and place with glass walls and concrete

Set on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, the Aurora Event Center is envisioned as a year-round event space accommodating weddings and events for up to 250 guests. The primary design intent of the project is to create a strong connection to the lake and frame its picturesque views. The building is purposefully designed to minimize its impact on the site and to maintain a seamless integration with the surrounding landscape while providing protection from inclement weather.

The sequence of experiences takes visitors on a meandering drive through the woodlands as they approach the building’s eastern wall that appears like a ruin in the landscape. As guests pass through the entry portal, the hall slopes down toward the foyer and is washed with natural light by a skylight that follows the length of the space. In the main event space, the western glass wall frames views of the lake in both the ceremony and reception halls and ultimately reveals the full horizon of the landscape and the lake beyond.

Only after going through the entry procession can one realize that the building is cut into the hill. Taller on the west side than initially perceived on the east, the rustic board-formed concrete wall retains the earth to carve out space into the hill for the pavilion and terraces.

Internal courtyards are included as integral components to the building’s design, acting as anchors to the spatial layout. These courtyards bracket the main reception hall, filtering natural daylight within and elevating the presence of landscape for the overall experience.

  • Project: Aurora Event Center
  • Program: Event Center
  • Floor Area: 45,000 gross square feet
  • Location: Aurora, New York, USA
  • Status: In Progress
  • Architect: Trahan Architects
  • Project Team: Trey Trahan, FAIA; Leigh Breslau, AIA; Brad McWhirter, AIA; Kim Nguyen, AIA; Yichen Lee; Sarah Cancienne; Shelby Downs; Charles Weimer; Conner Bryan


  • Landscape Architect: Reed Hilderbrand
  • Structural/ MEP Engineer: ARUP
  • Glass Engineer: Michael Ludvik Consulting Engineers
  • Renderings: The Boundary

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