Nicholas Rajkovich, PhD, AIA

Associate Professor - Department of Architecture - 317B Hayes Hall - (716) 829-6910

Man standing in a blue jacket, hands in pocket under a willow trellis, looking off camera on a grey day.

A portrait of professor Nicholas (Nick) Rajkovich, with the Department of Architecture, taken in March 2023 at Willow Way, near Silo City in Buffalo, NY.

Nicholas B. Rajkovich, Associate Professor at the University at Buffalo, investigates the intersection of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and adaptation to climate change. By studying how the built environment adapts to extreme weather and climate change, Rajkovich works to solve problems that may plague cities of the future.

As a professor and mentor, Rajkovich puts an emphasis on one-to-one critiques and consultations with his students. Rajkovich also enjoys the challenges presented by a large class and finding ways to engage various learning styles, often involving his students in research on climate-resilient strategies for application by architects, engineers, planners, and policy makers.

Before joining the University at Buffalo, Rajkovich worked for a gas and electric company in California, PG&E. There, he was brought on to teach classes on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Disillusionment with his employer's efforts to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions led Rajkovich back to school to focus on policy work. Rajkovich would go on to earn his PhD in urban and regional planning from the University of Michigan. He was also chair of the San Francisco American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment.

Prior to PG&E, Nicholas taught several courses on lighting, acoustics, and building systems in the Department of Architecture at Cornell University. He also worked as an associate at Einhorn Yaffee Prescott in Albany, NY, where he helped architects and engineers reduce the overall environmental impact of buildings under contract to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the U.S. Department of State. He holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University.

We need to prepare communities to bounce back, or even bounce forward, so that they're in better shape to adapt to climate change.

 - Nicholas Rajkovich on climate resilience

Recent news

  • UB architecture students create hope in Buffalo

    PUSH Buffalo is using the students’ design plans to transform vacant buildings into sustainable homes.

  • Dezeen spotlights 10 student projects
    Dezeen, a global publication in architecture and design, spotlights 10 student works from across the School of Architecture and Planning in its latest edition of School Shows.
  • UB architecture school partners with PUSH Buffalo to train workers in green jobs

    The School of Architecture and Planning is partnering with People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH Buffalo) to train Buffalo’s workforce in climate-resilient design and development. The effort will result in the Sustainability Workforce Training Center, a 2,500-square-foot, zero-net energy building that will house a six-week training program to prepare unemployed and underemployed individuals for the local green workforce, and the next generation of climate activists. The project leverages PUSH Buffalo’s efforts to expand local hiring opportunities and advance economic and climate justice with the School's faculty expertise in adapting the built environment to extreme weather and climate change. 

  • Latest design-build project adds to Silo City’s regenerating landscape
    In a barren field in the shadows of towering grain elevators at Silo City, a group of University at Buffalo architecture students have created a beautiful structure that will continue to evolve and take shape. And they did it amid the stops and starts of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Climate change, according to Rajkovich, is a “tremendously difficult thing that our field is going to deal with."

The challenge is not limited to new construction, but the hundreds of thousands of buildings with outdated, inefficient systems. Buildings account for one-third of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. "I would like to see our profession prosper, but they will have to step up. This is something that we should be leading and have a strong hand in."

A fire following Hurricane Sandy in 2012 caused extensive damage in Breezy Point, New York.

A fire following Hurricane Sandy in 2012 caused extensive damage in Breezy Point, New York.

Featured Work

  • Climate Adaptation and Resilience Across Scale

    This book highlights North American cases that deal with issues such as climate projections, public health, adaptive capacity of vulnerable populations, and design interventions for floodplains, making the content applicable to many locations around the world. The contributors in this book discuss topics ranging from how built environment professionals respond to a changing climate, to how the building stock may need to adapt to climate change, to how resilience is currently being addressed in the design, construction, and operations communities.

  • Smart & Connected Management of Thermal Extremes

    The Community Resilience Lab led by Zoé Hamstead and Nicholas Rajkovich, along with collaborators from ASU and Temple University, examine different ways in which extreme heat and cold impact U.S. cities.

  • Adapting Buildings for a Changing Climate
    In collaboration with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), this series of reports lead by Nicholas Rajkovich help New York’s policymakers, architects, builders, building owners and managers, and residents understand the impacts climate change has on the State’s building sector.