A great school of architecture and planning relies on a great city for its inspiration. From internationally celebrated buildings and parks and a bustling Lake Erie waterfront to lively urban neighborhoods and a vibrant immigrant community, Buffalo offers the aspiring architect or planner an ideal setting for living and learning.
The Buffalo and Western New York region sits on the U.S.-Canadian border, on the edge of Lake Erie and just south of Niagara Falls, providing the region an abundance of natural resources and economic advantage, today and throughout the region’s history. As the terminus of the Erie Canal, Buffalo was once one of the nation’s largest ports and remains a symbolic connection between east and west.
Buffalo’s period of great wealth brought master architects Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, H.H. Richardson, and Daniel Burnham to the city to design some of their most important buildings. Wright’s Martin House and Sullivan’s Guaranty Building, in particular, have inspired generations of architects worldwide. Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of New York’s Central Park, laid out Buffalo’s network of parks and parkways. Buffalo is also home to the works of Louise Bethune, revered as “America’s first woman architect,” as well as a world-class collection of artworks and heritage sites.
In the midst of an urban renaissance, Buffalo is again a center of progressive planning and design – a distinction that has much to do with our students and faculty. The School of Architecture and Planning engages the city, its buildings, landscapes, industries and communities as labs for research, experimentation, and intervention, and is a primary contributor to the region in everything from climate-related planning to industry-applied design technologies.
A legacy city in the midst of an economic restructuring, the region is riding a wave of reinvestment focused on its urban core, waterfront, and neighborhoods. Yet Buffalo also presents extreme urban challenges — such as population decline, vacancy, and economic disparity. With local-to-global relevance, design and planning innovations developed here in Buffalo emerge as best practices for application to our professions and city-regions around the world.
This historic city is also a place to explore and enjoy. Glide by Buffalo’s waterfront grain elevators in a kayak, savor local cuisine, or visit one of the city’s world-class art galleries. The region’s diverse citizenry is enriched by UB’s status as one of the nation’s top universities for international student enrollment. Two professional sports teams, lively nightlife, and fun, affordable neighborhoods round out the city’s offerings.
Buffalo is truly a global city and a rich context in which to study and experience architecture and planning.