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Alexander Morris (MArch ‘94, BPS ‘91)

Senior Associate, Wallace Roberts and Todd, Philadelphia

Alexander Morris (MArch ‘94, BPS ‘91)

Since joining WRT in 2003, Alex has served as project architect and project manager for a range of mixed-use and affordable housing redevelopment projects across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.

Most recently, Alex completed a draft master plan for 11 public housing sites for the Charlottesville Housing Authority, and a 67-unit LEED Silver-rated affordable housing project in Long Branch, NJ. A “Buffalonian through and through,” Alex also counts among his favorite projects his work with the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority and UB’s Center for Urban Studies on the Perry Choice Neighborhood Transformation Plan. 

How UB shaped my career

UB, especially the School of Architecture and Planning, was a wonderful environment for me academically. The school had, and continues to have, a great diversity in its faculty and approach to pedagogy and practice. There is also a wonderful hands-on approach to learning at the school that I think comes in part from the mid-Western, blue-collar roots of the community. Students are encouraged to get involved in the community and get their hands dirty. For architects this is essential because we practice a very public and practical art. UB was also where I un-learned some of my linear thinking habits and learned (or at least tried to learn) how to solve problems from multiple perspectives at the same time. There is never just one solution to a problem in architecture, and this is what is both maddening and ultimately satisfying about the profession. Professor Robert Shibley used to say that before we can be problem solvers, we have to be problem framers. 

My favorite spot on campus

I was more a Crosby Hall guy than a Hayes Hall guy. Most of our classes and studios were in Crosby, but I spent lots of time in the library and computer labs in Hayes. There was a wonderful informality to the interiors of both buildings. I hope the renovation of Hayes Hall can preserve some of those informal spaces and that students can still pin-up and even draw on the walls on occasion! [They will, Alex – Hayes Hall is pin-up ready!]

Why I choose to donate to the Buffalo School

I was more a Crosby Hall guy than a Hayes Hall guy. Most of our classes and studios were in Crosby, but I spent lots of time in the library and computer labs in Hayes. There was a wonderful informality to the interiors of both buildings. I hope the renovation of Hayes Hall can preserve some of those informal spaces and that students can still pin-up and even draw on the walls on occasion! [They will, Alex – Hayes Hall is pin-up ready!]

My ability to contribute, even in small ways, makes me feel like I am helping to bring about that goal.

What I tell students

Always make yourself available and open to new opportunities and challenges. Learn to embrace the discomfort that comes from challenges. Train yourself to look at problems from multiple perspectives. When you feel stuck, ask advice from your fellow students and give your advice and help freely in return. These are all things that, if learned well and early, will serve you well in your profession and in your life.

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