Published October 25, 2022
The School of Architecture and Planning is pleased to welcome 10 new faculty with the start of the 2022-23 academic year, the largest and most diverse cohort of faculty hires in nearly a decade.
Including six tenure-track hires and four clinical hires in architecture, and a tenure-track hire in urban planning and real estate development, the group brings interdisciplinary expertise in fields as diverse as planning and design for informal settlements, inclusive city-building practices, sustainable design, computer-aided design, building science, architectural history, community engagement methodology, landscape design, and learning science.
“The diversity and caliber of our newest class of faculty signals the rising stature of the School of Architecture and Planning as a center for innovation on the most pressing challenges facing cities and communities today,” said Dean Robert. G. Shibley, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the School of Architecture and Planning.
The new hires are part of a university-wide trajectory of faculty growth. This year, UB, New York’s flagship university, welcomed 130 new faculty across all decanal areas and has received $12.1 million from New York State to make additional hires.
“We’re proud to be right in step with our university’s ambition to double research spending as we strive to enter the nation’s Top 25 public research universities by 2030,” said Shibley, highlighting the bold goal announced by President Satish K. Tripathi in his State of the University address last month.
Read more about the newest members of our faculty, including their reflections on joining the School and UB at this time of growth and interdisciplinary engagement with the grand challenges of our time.
“Our newest colleagues both expand and deepen the impactful research and exceptional teaching done in the Department of Architecture. In addition to the interdisciplinary backgrounds they hold, each one is committed to advancing equity and inclusion in the classroom and the community. Already nationally known in this area, the department, bolstered by our new faculty, is more capable than ever to be a transformative leader.”
- Korydon Smith, EdD, professor and chair, UB Department of Architecture
Jacobé Huet, PhD, is an assistant professor of architectural history and theory. Huet is a historian of modern architecture from a global perspective, with a focus on the transcultural Mediterranean. She received a PhD from Harvard University, an MA from Williams College, and a BA from Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.
Huet's current book project revisits the white cube as a quintessential modernist motif. White and cubical volumes are ubiquitous throughout the designs of avant-garde architects in the first half of the 20th century. Historians and theorists made the white cube an emblem of European modernism, consistently associating this architectural formula with placelessness and machine-age aesthetics. Huet shifts this paradigm by recasting the modernist white cube as a product of regionalist inspiration and postcolonial agency in the transcultural Mediterranean. Based on new archival findings attesting to Adolf Loos, Marcel Breuer, and Le Corbusier’s extensive Mediterranean travels, she argues that these modernists appropriated key features of Greek island villages and North African medinas to formulate their white and cubical designs. Measuring these architects’ primitivist vision of vernacular against the discourses of dissident Mediterranean figures, she demonstrates that celebrated designers, unnamed builders, scholars of the built environment, and social housing residents formulated contesting definitions of this architectural motif.
Huet's teaching invites students to approach architectural designs as ideologically charged objects emerging from networks of transregional exchanges. Courses she offers include “Colonialism and Its Subversion: Architectural Modernism in North Africa,” “Le Corbusier Beyond Europe: Internationalism and Ideology,” and “Architectural History 2: Modernity and Its Other.”
"I am inspired by UB’s commitment to inclusive education and Buffalo’s architectural patrimony. The city of Buffalo acted as a catalyst towards the development of American architectural modernity. I look forward to examining this history with my students."
Jacobé Huet, PhD, assistant professor of architectural history and theory
Anahita Khodadadi, PhD, assistant professor of architecture, pursues research at the intersection of building science, computation and design, and inclusive teaching practices. An interdisciplinary scholar, she collaborates with researchers across UB’s Graduate School of Education, College of Arts and Sciences, and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences as a part of UB's campus-wide Learning Science Initiative.
Within the field of computational design, Khodadadi studies the early phases of design and qualitative and quantitative assessments of design alternatives, from building form to parametric design. In the building sciences, her inquiries include thermal and daylighting simulations and structural and environmental analyses of buildings. In the studio and classroom, she cultivates inclusive teaching and active learning approaches through student-supportive learning outcomes and open access learning materials.
She received her doctorate in architecture (building technology) from the University of Michigan, where her dissertation developed a computational form exploration method using the principles of creative and productive thinking and the application of a genetic algorithm (GA) and the Theory of Innovative Problem Solving (TRIZ).
Prior to joining UB, she taught building tectonics and structures and design studios at Portland State University. She earned her Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Architecture from the University of Tehran after which she practiced for several years in Tehran as a registered architect.
"I came to UB for the opportunity to work at the intersection of education, architecture and engineering," said Khodadadi, who was hired as part of UB's campus-wide Learning Science Initiative.
"My research intersects with three areas - computational tools that can help architects and architectural students design better and more suitable spaces. The second is more toward building science, to decrease the impact of built environment on our natural environment. And the third is to improve learning outcomes for architectural students in STEM-related topics, for instance through the gamification of learning science and the development of computational tools."
- Anahita Khodadadi, PhD, assistant professor of architecture
Daniela Sandler, PhD, is an associate professor of architectural and urban history. She holds a PhD in visual and cultural studies from the University of Rochester, and a professional degree in architecture and urbanism from the University of São Paulo.
Her work examines social inequalities in the built environment, spotlighting the ways in which groups and individuals fight for more inclusive cities through the intersection of bottom-up tactics and official policies. In Counterpreservation: Architectural Decay in Berlin since 1989 (Cornell University Press, 2016), she investigates how Berlin residents appropriated architectural decay to engage a difficult past, resist gentrification, and create alternative housing and cultural spaces. The book was awarded Antoinette Forrester-Downing Award from the Society of Architectural Historians in 2019.
"My commitment is to a global architectural history that is inclusive not only geographically and in terms of time periods, but also in terms of cultures and different ways of seeing the world."
- Daniela Sandler, PhD, assistant professor of architecture
Her forthcoming book will be the first city-wide study of grassroots urbanism and inclusive city-making in São Paulo, Brazil. Her peer-reviewed articles and book chapters have dealt with themes such as public space and social inclusion in São Paulo; the historiography of Brazilian modernism; war trauma, memory, and memorials in Germany; and alternative approaches to preservation. Sandler’s teaching focuses on these topics from a global perspective, spanning the topics of colonialism, gender and race, health, preservation, and food.
Sandler was also appointed by Dean Robert G. Shibley as associate dean for inclusive excellence, leading the School of Architecture and Planning’s efforts to further inclusion, equity, and justice across our School and in the teaching, research and practice of architecture, urban planning and real estate development.
"At UB, the commitment to inclusive excellence comes from the top down and from the ground up, from faculty, staff and students," says Sandler, who will work to develop inclusion through her teaching, research and leadership as the School's associate dean for inclusive excellence.
"We still have a lot to do but it is so refreshing and I'm so inspired by the student body - not only by their diverse backgrounds, but their excitement, their commitment and their idealism. It is something I felt immediately upon walking into the classroom."
Jason Sowell, AIA, an associate professor of architecture and registered architect, investigates how landscapes adapt to climate change through research, teaching and practice. He received a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Tennessee and a Master of Landscape Architecture from Harvard University. His research explores landscape-oriented infrastructure as an urban adaptation to climate change, with a focus on how technologies shape housing and management practices.
"My research examines technologies that integrate management infrastructures with ecological reclamation. Currently, I'm exploring how prescribed fire and mechanical thinning techniques can adapt national wildfire guidelines to specific eco-regions, and how we visualize these to help direct management choices onsite."
- Jason Sowell, associate professor of architecture
Sowell has published research about flood mitigation in cities, propagation technologies, and energy landscapes in the Journal of Architectural Education, Thresholds, and Bracket, respectively. His work has been exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale and the Pan American Biennale (with Nichole Wiedemann), with awards from Cleveland’s Urban Design Collaborative, Brasilia’s Secretary of Housing, the Texas Society of Architects and the Environmental Design Research Association.
At The University of Texas at Austin, where he taught prior to joining UB, Sowell directed the Master of Landscape Architecture Program, led landscape studios about cemeteries as resilient urban infrastructures, and received the 2010 CELA National Excellence in Design Studio Teaching Award. He is a principal of SSAU (with Kristine Stiphany), a studio focused on creating socially-oriented interactions between landscape and architecture.
Sowell says UB's context of growth and the transitioning landscapes of Buffalo offer an ideal context for his research (in addition to a refreshing change in climate from the high plains prairies of Texas): "The University at Buffalo and the surrounding region are in transition - socially, economically and ecologically, and that's a point of interest in terms of the work that I do."
Kristine Stiphany, PhD, AIA, is a registered architect and a Fulbright Fellow, and joins the UB faculty as an assistant professor of architecture. She was previously an assistant professor of architecture at Texas Tech University, where she led the Latin American Urban Design Lab and graduate studios to Latin America.
Stiphany’s research is guided by a commitment to developing technologies and frameworks for addressing inequalities in contemporary urban design and transformation, with a focus on the role of community-based data infrastructures in Brazil and along the U.S. Mexico border.
A registered architect, member of the AIA and former planner for ‘slum upgrading’ projects in São Paulo, Stiphany is known for uniting large transdisciplinary teams to develop participatory planning and design tools for communities. The work was the focus of her National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Texas at Austin, where she founded the Chapa Civic Data Lab. Stiphany will advance this work at UB as director of the Design for Resilient Environments Lab (DRE-Lab), a subsidiary of Chapa focused on co-producing urban regeneration in climate and capital-vulnerable places. She is also the co-chair of the Latin American Housing Network.
"I don't collect the big data that tells us that informality is a massive global problem. We know we know that very well," she said, noting that one out of four of the world's population will live in slum housing by 2030.
"And I don't collect the data that tells us that these informal environments are just in the Global South, because they're part of our own backyards in the industrialized North. I study these places through people, with whom I create situated data about the issues that communities who are marginalized from formal planning processes identify and wish to change."
- Kristine Stiphany, PhD, assistant professor of architecture and a self-described "civic data activist"
Prior to her doctoral work, Stiphany worked at Studio Gang in Chicago with design awards for projects in Austin, Brasilia, and São Paulo. Her work is published in the Journal of Planning Education and Research, Latin American Research Review, and Urban Studies. In addition to her PhD, she holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan.
Stiphany, who teaches graduate housing studios at UB and brings professional and scholarly expertise in both architecture and urban planning, has also been appointed Director of the dual Master of Architecture / Master of Urban Planning degree program at the School of Architecture and Planning.
"I was attracted to UB and specifically the School of Architecture and Planning by its commitment to social justice and the built environment," adds Stiphany.
The Department of Architecture also advanced four adjunct faculty members as professors of practice, providing core capacity in design, technical methods and fabrication, ecological practices and professional development. Notably, three of these four hires are graduates of UB's architecture program.
Elaine Y. Chow, AIA, clinical assistant professor of architecture, is a registered architect with an international portfolio of work that balances contemporary design aesthetics with environmental considerations. At UB, she teaches the undergraduate junior design studio and portfolio seminars at the graduate and undergraduate level while also serving as director of student professional development for the Department of Architecture.
She holds a BPS in Architecture from UB and a MArch from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.
Chow is dedicated to the design profession and larger community, serving on the AIA Buffalo/WNY Diversity Committee and Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation Design Review Committee.
In her professional development role, she serves as faculty advisor for the American Institute of Architecture for Students while cultivating mentorship, internship, employment and scholarship/competition opportunities. Chow has practiced internationally, including Shanghai, China, where she worked on large-scale commercial and mixed-use projects with zerolaboffice. Her private practice, proj.eyc, specializes in retail and residential design with sustainability/Net-Zero and modern design aesthetics, receiving the 2021 AIA Buffalo/WNY Design Award for the 4+2 House in Medina, NY.
Laura Lubniewski, AIA, clinical assistant professor of architecture, brings to UB expertise in high-performance, energy-efficient, sustainable and community-based design. After graduating from UB in 2011 with her BS in Architecture, Lubniewski followed her passion for low-tech sustainable vernacular occupant-built housing, working for non-traditional companies including Earthship Biotecture and Tumbleweed Tiny House Company.
In 2016, her built prototype tiny house was showcased at the National Tiny House Jamboree, a gathering of over 60,000 people in Colorado Springs.
As an educator she has been a guest workshop facilitator for Tiny Houses and the Future of Energy at the Global Student Leaders Summit in Reykjavik, Iceland (2016) and has held teaching positions at Boston Architectural College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC®), Lubniewski is passionate about resilient, high-performance housing for the masses. An NCARB Certified architect, she has held positions with Wendel Companies and eco_logic STUDIO in Buffalo and serves as the AIA Buffalo/WNY Emerging Professionals Committee Chair. In addition to her UB degree, she holds a MArch from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Adam Thibodeaux, RA is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Architecture, where he teaches core studios, graduate studios and seminars, and other courses focused on inclusive design and social justice.
He previously served as an Inclusive Design Fellow and Instructional Teaching Fellow at the Yale School of Architecture and as a Public Interest Design Fellow at the University of Texas Center for Sustainable Development. Thibodeaux holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Texas and a post-professional Master of Architecture from Yale University, where he received the Moulton Andrus Award for excellence in art and architecture. He is a licensed architect and directs a small independent practice alongside his work as co-director of Kingfish, a project space on Buffalo's West Side.
Daniel Vrana (MArch ’15, BS Arch ’13), is clinical assistant professor architecture and the Director of the SMART (Sustainable Manufacturing and Advanced Robotic Technologies) Fabrication Factory at the School of Architecture and Planning. Vrana previously served as an adjunct instructor of architecture and manager of fabrication services in the School of Architecture and Planning’s Fabrication Workshop.
As director of UB’s SMART Fabrication Factory, Vrana partners with faculty and industry to advance practice-driven research in fabrication and digital craft.
A graduate of UB’s BS Arch and MArch programs, Vrana has advanced research since his days as a student, when he served on the award-winning team for Project 2xMT, an experimental prototype toward self-structuring and lightweight architectural screens built entirely from thin-gauge sheet metal.He also has prior experience as a member of the Rigidized Metals Research Group, advancing fabrication methods with the Buffalo-based manufacturer of architectural metals. Today, his teaching and research engages students, faculty and industry in digital design, visualization, fabrication, and construction.
The Department of Urban and Regional Planning welcomes a critical new tenure-track hire: Kate Nelischer, PhD, will foster connections across real estate and urban planning through the study of smart cities and the exploration of inclusive models of planning and development governance.
The Department will continue its trajectory of growth with the recent announcement of two new tenure-track openings, to be filled by Fall 2023.
“These new hires across our programs will enhance our disciplinary depth while challenging the knowledge frontiers of both the architecture and planning disciplines. Their breadth of expertise and methodological techniques complement the ways our school is engaging conversations around race, technology, climate change, and social justice to reimagine more just, healthy, and sustainable urban and rural landscapes, both in the US and globally.”
- Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, associate professor and interim chair, UB Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Kate Nelischer, PhD, joins the Department of Urban and Regional Planning as assistant professor, to pursue teaching and scholarship in both urban planning and real estate development. Her research examines how various interests are represented in participatory planning, design, and development processes, and the resulting impacts on the form and management of the city.
Nelischer recently completed her PhD in planning at the University of Toronto, where her dissertation offered a case study of Sidewalk Toronto, a former public-private partnership between Sidewalk Labs (an Alphabet Inc. subsidiary) and Waterfront Toronto (a tripartite government agency) to develop a smart city.
"Smart city projects are rapidly becoming a dominant element in the global urban agenda, and their increasing development and management by private technology corporations represents a turning point in planning and governance.”
- Kate Nelischer, PhD, assistant professor of urban and regional planning
She was awarded the Van Ginkel Graduate Fellowship from the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance for her doctoral research. Nelischer holds over a decade of professional experience in planning, including designing community participation processes for the City of Toronto and launching the City of Brampton’s first Office of Community Engagement.
Previously, she served on the faculty of the University of Waterloo, Toronto Metropolitan University, and the University of Toronto, where she also served as assistant dean for academic planning and governance.
Nelischer holds a master’s degree in design writing criticism from the University of the Arts London and a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Guelph.
Nelischer says she was drawn to UB by its city-as-studio learning model.
“It cements the role of the university as a community participant and resource while exposing students to development, planning and design challenges. This directly engages students in the contemporary and complex issues they will encounter in practice, such as affordable housing, sustainability, and community development.”