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.

Chronicle screenshot

The national Chronicle of Higher Education offers a comprehensive look at the school's city-as-classroom approach to teaching and research in architecture and urban planning, and the role that's played in Buffalo's resurgence.

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.

5/15/18
Erin Sweeney, who will graduate this week with her Master of Urban Planning degree, has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright Scholar Research Award to advance her research in food systems planning in support of small-scale farmers in Singapore.
3/28/18

Students began collecting and storing the materials which they will soon use to construct two Ritual Houses for installation at ARTPARK in Lewiston, NY.

6/14/18

The documentary short produced by the School of Architecture and Planning for the Time Space Existence exhibition in Venice offers a poetic visual experience of the city’s urban context and the school’s complex relationship to it over the past five decades.

6/12/17

An assortment of turn-of-the-century artifacts from the Larkin Company and its Frank Lloyd Wright-designed administrative building rest upon the craftsmanship of UB architecture students in “Wright’s Larkin,” an exhibition on industry and the Arts and Crafts Movement, now on view in UB’s Hayes Hall. 

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.