Julia Czerniak, AIA Assoc., ASLA, RLA

Dean and Professor
School of Architecture and Planning

Robert Shibley.

Julia Czerniak was appointed Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning in August 2023. 

Julia Czerniak, Dean and professor of the School of Architecture and Planning, is an internationally recognized design thinker. Educated as both an architect and landscape architect, her research and practice draws on the intersection of these disciplines. 

Czerniak’s work focuses on the physical, cultural and ecological potentials of urban landscapes, particularly in deindustrializing cities. Her recent design research advances landscape as a protagonist in envisioning and creating biodiverse, climate resilient cities.

Czerniak’s work as a designer is complemented by her work as educator and writer: She has authored and edited over 30 publications, including three edited volumes, 25 essays and reviews, and has participated in more than 50 conferences, panels and events globally. She has been invited as a public speaker and guest juror at over 40 schools in North America, South America, Australia, Europe and Asia.

Before her appointment as Dean of the only architecture school in the SUNY systeem, Czerniak served as a professor at Syracuse since 1995 and served as associate dean of Syracuse’s School of Architecture from 2014 to 2022, leading the school’s academic strategic planning efforts and its successful National Architectural Accrediting Board review. In this role, Czerniak strengthened research support for faculty, enhanced the school’s international programs, and expanded the school’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

In addition to her faculty role at Syracuse, Czerniak served as creative director at CLEAR, an interdisciplinary design practice that focuses on urban landscapes in Rust Belt cities. She previously served as the inaugural director of UPSTATE: A Center for Design, Research and Real Estate, whose projects applied innovative design research to challenges faced by urban communities, weak markets and shrinking cities.

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Architect's Newspaper: Q&A with Dean Julia Czerniak

"I see a deanship as a leadership position with a disciplinary project that engages, inspires, supports, and advocates for the school, university and city...I want to build a school of creative, talented, and intelligent people who discuss provocative ideas, do meaningful work, and collectively advance timely and serious projects to not only show what we as architects and planners can do, but also how we, in the context of deindustrializing Buffalo, can get things done. In other words, by building both relationships and projects."

Read the full Q&A

Czerniak has received many awards and honors including a 2024 residency at the American Academy in Rome and the J.B. Jackson Book Prize from the Foundation for Landscape Studies. Her design research and creative work has been premiated through exhibition and publication, as well as through award winning competition schemes.

Recent publications by Czerniak include Large Parks (Princeton Architectural Press) and Case: Downsview Park Toronto (Prestel), both of which focus on contemporary design approaches to public parks and the relationship between landscape and cities. Her article, Formerly Urban: Projecting Rust Belt Futures (Princeton Architectural Press), examines potential futures for shrinking cities. Other writings include essays in Third Coast Atlas (Actar); Wiley-Blackwell Companion to the History of Architecture (Wiley & Sons); Landscape Infrastructure (Birkhauser); Landscape Alchemy: The Work of Hargreaves Associates (ORO Editions); Fertilizers: Olin Eisenman (Institute for Contemporary Art,); Landscape Urbanism (Princeton Architectural Press); Assemblage 34 (MIT Press) and Harvard Design Magazine

Czerniak holds a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture from Pennsylvania State University, a research master of architecture degree from Glasgow School of Art and a master’s in architecture from Princeton University.

“I am thrilled to join the University at Buffalo as dean of the School of Architecture and Planning and look forward to working with university leadership and the school community to advance its legacy of critical thinking, creative making and engaged learning. It’s exciting to imagine the rich possibilities the school’s multidisciplinary environment offers to shape fresh and innovative ideas and actions, as we collectively envision and create a culturally rich, diverse, and low-carbon planet.”

- Julia Czerniak on her appointment as Dean (read the full press release)