Buffalo Constructing Buffalo

From Olmsted to Van Valkenburgh

Over half a century, faculty and students of the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning have contributed to Buffalo, New York's continuous construction through hundreds of acts of planning, design, and making. The School has led the development of the official planning framework for Buffalo - waterfront, parks, downtown, city, region, and economy.

Now it has established the community vision for the next big step in the ongoing construction of Buffalo - the transformation of a waterfront park from a challenging, flat stretch of grass to an enchanting landscape at the eastern tip of Lake Erie.

"Buffalo Constructing Buffalo: From Olmsted to Van Valkenburgh" is an exhibit that interprets the collaborative civic work of creating the park, driven by values defined through public engagement, informed by precedent and analysis of existing conditions, and inspired by an elevation of expectations for the user experience. It will be installed in Venice, Italy, as part of the Time Space Existence exhibition organized by the European Culture Centre and held in conjunction with the Venice Architecture Biennale.  

The park’s redevelopment is the result of an historic gift to the city by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, in partnership with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, a New York-based landscape architecture firm, has led the park’s design. The City of Buffalo is an active project partner represented by its Division of Parks and Recreation, the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, the Department of Community Services and Recreational Programming, and the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning. The University at Buffalo's School of Architecture and Planning and one of its research centers, the UB Regional Institute, are managing this engagement process to ensure broad and meaningful community input shape the park’s future. 

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"UB Gives Buffalo World Billing in Venice"

The University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning is once again putting Buffalo’s urban design on the global stage. After debuting a documentary film on the city at the 2018 Time Space Existence exhibition in Venice, Italy, the school returns to the international architecture event this month to showcase the world-class park emerging on Buffalo’s waterfront.

Read the full press release

"Buffalo Constructing Buffalo" Exhibition Team

Curator: Robert Shibley, Professor and Dean, School of Architecture and Planning
Visual Narrative: Ariel Aberg-Riger
Exhibition Design: Julia Jamrozik, Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, with UB architecture students: Lukas Fetzko, Stanicka Mathurin, Rutuja Shinde, Christopher Sweeney
Exhibit Sponsors: Robert Skerker; University at Buffalo, SUNY

Exhibition storyboards

poster 2.
A note about the exhibtion

The images in this exhibtion illustrate the fluid and complex civic process behind city-making and the evolution of the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park. That process continues today. Any representations of the park’s design are a snapshot of the process at various points in time, and do not necessarily reflect the current design status. As the project proceeds into its final stages of design documentation, regulatory review and construction bidding, elements of the park’s design are subject to further refinement. Please visit the Imagine LaSalle website for updates on the park’s planning and development.