An increasingly globalized world has thrust the design and planning professions into provocative arenas of influence. Called upon to address issues as sweeping as climate change and social justice, the Buffalo School is emerging as one of the leading architecture and planning schools in the U.S. and a powerful engine of new knowledge and innovative modes of practice.
Research and creative practice are not just platforms but the basis for our academic programs in architecture and planning. We do this through a broad inter-disciplinary approach that reaches across the University at Buffalo, a flagship campus of The State University of New York and one of 34 public research universities in the prestigious Association of American Universities.
Specializations in planning and graduate research groups in architecture infuse studios and seminars with inquiry into topics as diverse as historic preservation, urban design, ecological practices and the relationship of the built environment to computational technologies. Five research centers, including the internationally renowned Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access, reinforce the school’s research enterprise. In 2015, the Buffalo School generated over $4 million in research expenditures, placing us among the top 3 of all schools of architecture and planning in the prestigious AAU.
The Buffalo School approaches design and planning research in relation to its socioeconomic, environmental, cultural, and technological contexts. From collaborative research projects to dual degrees, our planning and architecture programs ally with fields including engineering, fine arts, public health, law and business administration.
A research-based curriculum also opens our programs – at the undergraduate and graduate level – to intensive engagement with professional practice and local civic organizations. Often this leads to hands-on research through building and making and an embedded presence within the community. Consider that students competing in the Solar Decathlon will design, build and install a net-zero-energy, solar-powered home entirely through the studio and seminar course offerings. Students working with the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab are designing planning tools to increase access to healthy food for Buffalo and regions across the U.S.
For our students, this culture of inquiry inculcates reflective practice and enterprise and paves a more seamless transition into the profession. For practitioners, it creates inlets to the academy and forums for in situ research. Together, the Buffalo School and its research partners are developing widely cited design and planning standards and speculative studies that push the limits of our disciplines.