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Learn by Doing

A learn-by-doing approach to professional education is the crux of our programs in architecture and urban planning at the University at Buffalo. From the studio to the community, students and faculty at the School of Architecture and Planning constantly “do” and “make” through applied research, built works and creative activities. Here at UB, design inquiry becomes design-build while planning concepts become adopted plans for neighborhoods and regions.

As a community of makers, we translate knowledge into practice and design the solutions that improve communities and innovate practice. Situated within the resurging City of Buffalo and its surrounding binational region, we engage in constant creative dilalogue with local industries, firms, designers, planners, governments, and an active grassroots movement. Consider Buffalo as a testbed for climate action planning for Great Lakes cities, an incubator for architectural material innovation with local industry, or a model for micro-development in transitioning urban neighborhoods. Our global engagements run just as deep. For more than 20 years our students have worked on the ground in Costa Rica on sustainable, ecologically-just design, while summer studios and research engagements span India, Korea, Japan, China, Barcelona, Seoul and the Baltic States. Our study abroad program alone spans seven countries and three continents.

6/3/16

Imagine redesigning a city in only 2 days. That’s exactly what American and Estonian students did recently as part of a summer study abroad program in Estonia under the direction of urban and regional planning faculty member Daniel B. Hess.

6/15/17

A colorful set of wooden cubes and cases is playing a foundational role in activating the Hayes Hall atrium gallery as a dynamic space for public events, exhibitions and even play.

4/5/16

Ghalia Ajouz and her classmates don’t see an abandoned silk mill on Buffalo’s East Side. They envision a rehabilitated building that serves as a vibrant temporary housing community for refugees who’ve been relocated to Buffalo.

11/9/17
Urban planning students have assumed an almost investigative role as they explore two of Buffalo’s most historically significant — and hidden — landscapes: the Buffalo Belt Line, a former passenger rail line that loops the city almost unnoticed; and the Scajaquada Creek, a largely buried 13-mile stream whose shores trace the evolution of Buffalo.

With a fully-equipped fabrication shop and materials shop available right on campus, the School of Architecture and Planning makes digital and physical modeling easily accessible to students in all programs. Architecture students experience the maker culture from the start, including an introduction to "thinking through making" in freshman studio, advanced modeling in comprehensive studio, and intensive engagement with materials and building technologies at the graduate level. 

Such hands-on engagement and critical practice within our local and global communities cultivate core skills for todays rapidly changing professions — entrepreneurial and design activist sensibilities, collaborative agility, leadership and client relations, and facility with technology and full-scale planning, design, and construction.

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