Joyce Hwang, AIA, NCARB

Associate Professor, Associate Chair - Department of Architecture - 127 Hayes Hall - (716) 829-5906

Associate Professor, Associate Chair - Department of Architecture

Hwang engaged in a freshman studio critique.

Joyce Hwang stands with “Habitat Wall,” a prototype wall structure that accommodates humans and urban animals such as bats, raccoons and birds. Says Hwang: "I am interested in exploring how a wall can act not only as a facade, but also as an inhabitable, living membrane." Photo by Scott Gable

Joyce Hwang is associate professor and associate chair of the Department of Architecture at UB. Through her teaching, research and critical practice as director of Ants of the Prairie, she confronts contemporary ecological conditions through creative means.

Currently Hwang is developing a series of projects that incorporate wildlife habitats into constructed environments. Recent projects include “Bat Tower,” “Bat Cloud,” “Habitat Wall,” and “Bower.” She is a recipient of the Architectural League Emerging Voices Award (2014), the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowship (2013), the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) Independent Project Grant (2013, 2008), and the MacDowell Colony Fellowship (2016, 2011). 

Hwang, AIA, NCARB, is a registered architect in New York State. She has practiced professionally with offices in New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Barcelona, and has worked with the office of Carlos Ferrater in an invited competition for the new International Terminal at the Barcelona Airport. Hwang received a post-professional Master of Architecture degree from Princeton University and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University, where she received the Charles Goodwin Sands Memorial Bronze Medal.

"How do we think about the inclusion of life in the way we design space?"

 - Joyce Hwang on ecology and architecture, from Architect Magazine, April 14, 2014

Recent News

An exhibition that will travel across the country over the next two years to reveal the little-known history of architects as activists for social justice has landed in Buffalo.

Harkening in a new era of co-leadership for UB's Department of Architecture are chair Korydon Smith and associate chair Joyce Hwang.


UB architecture professor Joyce Hwang will play a lead role on the primary venue for research and commentary on architectural education as a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Architectural Education.


Venice experience includes two weeks of intensive site visits and hands on investigations in urbanism throughout Italy's city of canals. The program concludes with a workshop at the U.S. Pavilion of the Venice Architecture Biennale.

Selected activities, honors and awards

  • The MacDowell Colony Fellowship (2016, 2011) 
  • Architectural League Emerging Voices Award (2014)
  • New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowship (2013)
  • New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) Independent Project Grant (2013, 2008)

Media Mentions

An article on England’s Building Design about unique architectural designs for animals includes the Elevator B bee home designed by students in the UB School of Architecture and Planning.
An article in the Financial Times features the work of UB architecture professor Joyce Hwang in its review of "Pet-tecture: Design for Pets," published by Phaidon. On Hwang's "Bat Tower," the article states: "Aiming to raise awareness of the importance of bats to our ecosystem, this bold and striking structure resembles a gargantuan sleeping bat." (The article is viewable only by subscribers).
A story on KCET-TV in Los Angeles about designing cities that allow birds and other wildlife to safely coexist with humans interviews Joyce Hwang, associate professor of architecture in the School of Architecture and Planning, about her work, which includes a bat tower that provides a livable habitat in an aesthetically striking form that creates public awareness, and her Generative Zoning project that looks to the unused and abandoned urban spots created by zoning regulations. Perhaps, she said, the fact that the U.S. is already considering bird-safe buildings to minimize the No. 1 cause of death for urban birds, flying into windows, means that we are moving forward. 
An article in the Los Angeles Times about an unusual 17-story office tower with steel ribbons wrapped around floor-to-ceiling glass windows quotes Joyce Hwang, who served as a juror in the award-competition the project won last year. Hwang describes the steel ribbons as a “fantastical” structure. “It looks decorative. It looks like it’s hanging off the building, when it’s really the structure,” she said.
An article in Curbed's series 'The Architect's City' discusses Architecture professor Joyce Hwang's firm 'Ants on the Prairie' and her ideas for making Buffalo's buildings and unused spaces more wildlife-friendly.
An article in Architect magazine asks 12 design and tech experts to predict the advancements that they think will happen in 2016, and interviews Joyce Hwang, associate professor of architecture. “At the Chicago Architecture Biennial, I was transfixed by ‘Rock Print,’ a proof-of-concept structural form built with robotic technologies and low-grade aggregates,” she said.
Joyce Hwang’s practice, Ants of the Prairie, is generating buzz with innovative projects that create urban habitats for bees, bats, and other threatened species.
Architect's Newspaper profiles Joyce Hwang as winner of the 2014 Architectural League Emerging Voices Award.


Joyce Hwang .

Hwang's "Bat Cloud" is a hanging canopy of vessels designed and constructed to support bat habitation. It is installed in Buffalo's Tifft Nature Preserve. Photo by Joyce Hwang

Hwang's work has been exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale and the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, among other venues. Hwang’s projects and writing have been featured in international and national publications including Good, Curbed, PraxisAzure MagazineArchitect Magazine, Green Building and DesignAV ProyectosBracketMONUVolume Magazine, and Next Nature. She is a co-organizer of the Hive City Habitat Design Competition and a co-editor of Beyond Patronage: Reconsidering Models of Practice, published by Actar.