Aurora Event Center

Set on the eastern shore of the Cayuga Lake in upstate New York, the Aurora Event Center is envisioned as a year-round event space accommodating weddings for up to 250 guests. The primary design intent is to create a strong connection to the lake and frame its picturesque views. It is purposefully designed to not disturb the existing historic sites in the village and neighboring residences, but 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.

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.

Aurora, New York


45,000 SF

Project Team
Trey Trahan, Leigh Breslau, Brad McWhirter, Kim Nguyen, Sarah Cancienne, Shelby Downs, Charles Weimer, Yichen Lee, Conner Bryan

Reed Hilderbrand, ARUP, Michael Ludvik Consulting Engineers, Cini-Little, Cost+Plus

AIA New Orleans, Merit Award, 2019
The Chicago Athenaeum American Architectural Award, 2018
AIA Louisiana, Merit Award, 2017

Featured , Cultural , Hospitality , Religious , Rootedness , Atmosphere , Materiality

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.

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.

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