Be the Plus

Celebrating our first 50 years with big ideas and bold action for the next.

50 plus banner image with screened color over an image of students atop Hayes Hall.

The School of Architecture and Planning's founding 50 years ago cannot be understood apart from the context of the late 1960s - a time of social, cultural and political upheaval in our nation and world. Then viewed as a radical departure from traditional design education, UB's program taught architecture and planning in relation to its social and environmental conditions, and prepared community-minded citizens to engage design with the world's problems.

Five decades later, the School of Architecture and Planning again finds itself in a world calling for radical change. Guided by the same boundary-pushing drive, we ask many of these same questions with new urgency - and possibility.

This is our invitation to consider new possibilities for our disciplines as creative, innovative and regenerative forces in our world.

                                                                                                    - Dean Robert G. Shibley       

With our history as inspiration, and a better world as aspiration, we consider new avenues for influence through research, teaching and practice in our disciplines. Join us as we elevate the conversation. 

The first 50 years

Over the course of the 2019-20 academic year, we will document the school's formative years and evolution over five decades - stories that reveal both an enduring drive behind our programs and a persistence in challenges facing education and practice in our professions. 

A 1999 project entitled “Slice” cut a large and long section from the wall at the rear of the James Dyett Gallery in pre-restoration Hayes Hall, rotating it on an axis to reveal the building's then-vacant fourth floor.

A 1999 project entitled “Slice” cut a large and long section from the wall at the rear of the James Dyett Gallery in pre-restoration Hayes Hall, rotating it on an axis to reveal the building's then-vacant fourth floor. Photo courtesy of Frank Fantauzzi

Installment #2: A movement toward making

A movement that came to be known as the School of Architecture and Planning's “maker culture” emerged in the 1990s. It expressed an interest in hands-on work, a desire to build at full-scale, a curiosity to explore the properties of building materials and an inclination to experiment.

Most of  all, the school's decidedly hands-on maker culture reflected a drive to experience the materiality of architecture in an unmediated way. 

Pushing the "plus"

New lines of inquiry and creative practice by our faculty, students and alumni are pushing our disciplines into new intellectual territory and spheres of influence. From global policy on local food systems planning to design strategies for climate resilient buildings, the intersections of this work reveal new possibilities for dialogue and action.  

First-year architecture students with their design-build projects, spring 2018. Photo by Meredith Forrest Kulwicki

Issue #2: Materials and building

The methods, modes and materiality of building shape not only the form and function of our built environment, but societal aspirations for cultural production, social justice and resilience. The School of Architecture and Planning's legacy in experimental making and fabrication positions our faculty, students and alumni in the center of this discourse. 

Join the conversation

CounterCulture banner.

COUNTER / CULTURE, our 2019-20 public lecture series, takes its cue from the celebration of our 50th year and sets up dialogues from a multitude of disciplinary perspectives on the subject of architectural education and institutional critique. STAY TUNED FOR THE SPRING 2020 SERIES LAUNCH .

Rendering of plan for Kigali, Rwanda (2008).

African Cities: 11/6/19

Vanessa Watson, urban planning professor at Cape Town University, discusses the disconnect between Africa's rapidly growing, mostly poor cities and proposals for their Dubai-like redevelopment. 

Aerial of Kabul, Afghanistan.

The Future of Kabul: 10/9/19

Ahmad Zaki Sarferaz, mayor of Kabul and a 2014 graduate of UB, considers the role of urban planning in his city's navigation of rapid urbanization amidst ongoing conflict. 

Reyner Banham with on a field work expedition with his students at the Larkin Building in Buffalo.

Call for Submissions

On April 1, 2020, we're celebrating the personal and professional achievements of 50 graduates, in 50 images, from the past 50 years. All alumni are invited to submit their work to be considered for the Alumni Exhibition. Deadline: Jan. 22, 2020.

What's your "plus"?

How are you pushing the "plus" of future practice in our disciplines? Tell us how for a chance to be featured on our "Be the Plus" blog. Contact Rachel Teaman, assistant dean for communications: 

Follow on social: #50PlusYou