Celebrating 50 years of innovation and impact

opening reception.

Nearly 300 alumni and friends gathered with faculty, staff and students in Hayes Hall for the opening reception of our 50+ Anniversary Celebration on April 6, 2022. (All photos by KC Kratt unless otherwise noted)

50+ Anniversary Celebration joins School together across the eras, opens conversation for next 50 years

Deferred more than two years due to the pandemic, the School of Architecture and Planning’s 50+ Anniversary Celebration program opened our doors wide to the community, putting the work of faculty, students and alumni – across five decades – on full display. It was an inspirational demonstration of the power of the “plus” – the people, ideas and values that drive us as a School, then and now.

The celebration on April 5-6, 2022, was a coming together like no other, at a time like no other. Nearly 300 alumni, friends, faculty, students and community members gathered in our spaces for learning and making in celebration of 50 years of inspiration and impact – in our region, around the world, and across our professions.

The two-day program included a School-wide open house; the unveiling of the 50+ Alumni Exhibition in Hayes Hall; the Sydney Gross Alumni Symposium, featuring 11 young alumni driving innovation across the built environment professions; and a special exhibition of the School’s work in Buffalo over 50 years. 

Founded in 1969 as the “School of Architecture and Environmental Design,” we began as a self-described “band of renegades” leading a radical experiment in design education, one that situated the study of design and planning in its social contexts. Today, we hold the top ranks in research among architecture and planning schools across the nation; are known world-wide for our “city-as-classroom” approach to teaching and research; and extend our reach around the world through global scholarship and a network of more nearly 6,500 alumni.   

We are at a moment of possibility as the built environment professions mobilize in new ways on the complex challenges facing cities today, from the climate crisis to critical shortages in affordable housing. 

"As we take stock of the trajectory of our first 50 years, we ask, 'Where to from here?,' It is absolutely grounded in social equity and responsibility and an expanding scope of engagement for our School and our professions going forward. And it most certainly will be with the support of deeper and more diverse partnerships across our communities."

- Dean Robert G. Shibley, SUNY Distinguished Professor, addressing guests gathered in Hayes Hall at the opening reception on April 6.

Let's imagine what's possible when we work together. We invite you to be part of the journey as we work together to advance a more equitable, resilient and vibrant built environment for all.

Over the decades, your work has played an important part in UB's rise on the global stage. Achievements such as this advance our ambition to ascend to the nation's Top 25 public research universities.

- Provost A. Scott Weber, addressing guests at the 50+ Anniversary Celebration opening reception

Join us on August 24, 2022, for a "Plus You" event!

The celebration continues! All are invited to join us for “Plus You,” a closing reception and alumni networking event showcasing our 50+ Alumni Exhibition. Don't miss this opportunity to celebrate the work of our alumni, and connect with the School community as we kick off a new year of exciting programs and events!

Check out our 50+ program!

Graphic design of 50+ campaign (and photos above) by Julian Montague

Photo gallery from the opening reception of the 50+ Alumni Exhibition and Open Studio on April 6

50+ Alumni Exhibition

Alumni and friends from across the university and surrounding region joined with faculty and students in our Hayes Hall Atrium Gallery for the unveiling of our 50+ Alumni Exhibition, featuring 50+ alumni, in 50 images, over 50 years. The exhibition showcases the bold ideas of our graduates, realized through diverse modes of practice, from built works and community plans to experimental installations to acts of public service. Each image tells a personal story of creative drive and professional excellence; together, they represent the collective impact of our graduates at work across the professions, at all scales, and in communities around the world.  Mounted in the Hayes Hall Atrium Gallery, the exhibition is on view through Sept. 5, 2022. Visit the exhibition in Hayes Hall or view the work online. 

Explore the exhibition

see the exhibition in hayes hall.
On view in Hayes Hall through Sept. 5, 2022

Hayes Hall Atrium Gallery
UB South Campus

Gallery hours: M - F, 8:30 pm - 5 pm

The 50+ Alumni Exhibition was curated by Gregory Delaney and Joyce Hwang with fabrication support from Wade Georgi, Daniel Vrana and Lindsay Romano, and special assistance from Christopher Saeili of Abasco Inc. 

gallery website screenshot.

Explore the 50 selected projects, and learn more about the alumni and their innovative approaches to practice. Additional alumni works represent the full depth and diversity of work by our graduates. 

Sydney Gross Alumni Symposium

Students and faculty heard from a panel of 11 distinguished young alumni leading innovation across our professions. From a professor of urban planning and an award-winning designer of tiny homes, to a civic entrepreneur advocating for social justice and a designer with one of the top boutique firms in the world, the esteemed group shared their personal and professional journeys since graduation, including projects of inspiration and how their time at UB has shaped their pathway.

Innovators in practice: Meet our alumni panelists

Watch the presentations from our 11 alumni panelists by clicking on the individual names below.

Alumni panel addresses guests of the Sydney Gross Alumni Symposium.

Panel 1

Margaret Cowell (MUP '04), Associate Professor of Urban Affairs, Virginia Tech

Shawntera Hardy (MUP '04), Co-Founder, Civic Eagle

Rana Abu Ghazaleh (MUP '08), Capital Project Manager, City of Alexandria, Va.

Our second panel presented innovations in practice in architecture: F. Jason Campbell (BS Arch '11), Laura Schmitz Lubniewski (BS Arch '11), Joey Swerdlin (BS Arch '13), and Albert Chao (MArch/MFA '11).

Panel 2

Ayla Abiad (MArch '12), Project Architect/Project Manager, RM Chin Associates; Founder, Build a Bridge (BAB) Foundation

Andrew Perkins (MArch '12, BS Arch '10), Operations Manager, UAP Company

David Heaton (MArch '17, BS Arch '14), Associate, Studio Daniel Libeskind

Brandon Stone (MArch '17, BS Arch '15), Senior Environment and 3D Technical Artist, COSM


Panel 3

Joey Swerdlin (BS Arch '13), Community Director, Morpholio

Albert Chao (MArch/MFA '11), Regional Curator, Artpark; Adjunct Professor, UB Department of Architecture

Laura Schmitz Lubniewski (BS Arch '11), Architect, Wendel; Adjunct Professor, UB Department of Architecture

F. Jason Campbell (BS Arch '11), Creative Director, [ELL]; Associate, SmithGroup; Lecturer, University of California Berkeley, College of Environmental Design

The 2022 Sydney Gross Alumni Symposium was organized by Christopher Romano and Joyce Hwang, with support from the Sydney Gross Memorial Fund.

Open Studio

Dean Robert G. Shibley explores VR technology at our Situated Technologies graduate research studio open house on April 6.

Dean Robert G. Shibley explores a VR-augmented design demonstration at our Situated Technologies graduate research studio open house on April 6.

Drawing on the School’s cherished tradition of Atelier, the 50+ Anniversary Celebration included a School-wide open house with more than 100 displays of faculty and student work. A celebration of the creative process and maker culture behind our work, the event cast open the doors of our studios, shop facilities, critique spaces, research centers and classrooms with displays of work across our programs in architecture, urban planning, environmental design and real estate development. The exhibitions spanned Hayes Hall, the academic heart of our School, our Fabrication Workshop and SMART Fabrication Factory in Parker Hall, and undergraduate studio spaces in the Hayes and Acheson Hall Annexes. 

Open Studio was organized by Gregory Delaney, Libertad Figuereo, Lindsay Romano, Barbara Carlson, Rachel Teaman and Monica Stage, with additional support from Miguel Guitart, Rose Orcutt, Samina Raja and Maryanne Schultz

The City and Its School

city and school at cepa.

Installed at Buffalo’s CEPA Gallery (April 6 – May 19, 2022), "The City and Its School" presents two exhibitions exploring the School’s 50-year investment in its host city. Guests were invited to join the exhibition's soft opening on April 6, followed by the formal opening on April 8.

The dual installation features “Buffalo Constructing Buffalo: From Olmsted to Van Valkenburgh,” a visual narrative interpreting the civic planning process behind the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park emerging on Buffalo’s Lake Erie waterfront, the foundation of city plans that informed it and the best practices research that informed it; and “See It Through Buffalo,” a documentary short that captures the varied urban landscapes of Buffalo and educational spaces of the School, revealing the exchange between a school and its city. Both exhibitions debuted in Venice, Italy, at Time Space Existence, an international exhibition that runs in parallel with the Venice Architecture Biennale, the world’s preeminent forum for architecture and design.  

The City and Its School was curated by Dean Robert Shibley and Gregory Delaney with support from Lukas Fetzko and Eric Burlingame. Special thanks to the CEPA Gallery for hosting the School of Architecture and Planning. See full credits.

Photos of "The City and School" exhibition by Douglas Levere, (c) University at Buffalo

Crosby Hall Renovation

crosby renovation.

The renovation of Crosby Hall, the hub of our undergraduate studio experience, was also featured in the celebration. Guests were invited to hear from renovation architect Andrew Berman about the $28 million renovation, which will restore the building’s exterior to historic standards and reconfigure the interior into an airy, open, contemporary space for learning and making. Members of our Dean’s Council, an advisory board of distinguished alumni and professional leaders, received a tour of the space as the project moves toward its Fall 2023 completion. 

Welcome Reception

Alumni reconnected with one another gathered with faculty and students at Duende @ Silo City, in the shadows of Buffalo's monumental grain silos, to kick off the two-day celebration.