A Sneak Peek at Hayes Hall

Published September 3, 2015


Power tools thrum and dust carpets corridors as construction progresses inside Hayes Hall, one of UB’s most iconic buildings.

But already, through the maze of renovation, it’s possible to catch glimpses of the historic charm and contemporary beauty that will come together to make Hayes a great place to work and learn when it reopens in 2016.

Hayes Hall atrium under construction

A two-story atrium — shown under construction here in early summer — will welcome visitors to Hayes. Photo: Douglas Levere

But within the 1800s building, the hallways will be wider. Bay windows will light research centers at the ends of wings.

The fourth-floor attic, formerly unused, will be reclaimed. In this upper-story space, classrooms framed by huge arched windows will sit alongside loft-style studios featuring skylights that look onto Hayes’ iconic, white clock tower.

The mix of old and new reflects the creative redesign of buildings happening throughout Buffalo as the region undergoes a period of revitalization.

Hayes two story atrium

A rendering envisions how the two-story atrium will look when complete. Credit: John M. Wightman, UB MArch/MFA student

It also makes Hayes the ideal home for the School of Architecture and Planning, which has long been deeply engaged with the community that surrounds it.

“The restoration of Hayes Hall will be our statement to the world about our school’s commitment to sustainability, historic preservation, community and state-of-the-art facilities for education in architecture and planning,” says Robert G. Shibley, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning.

An investment in South Campus — and Buffalo

When you walk into the new Hayes, the first thing you’ll see is an airy, open, two-story atrium and gallery. The public will be invited into this space for shows and lectures.

It’s just one way in which Hayes’ renovation will facilitate the kind of civic engagement that helps set the School of Architecture and Planning apart from its peers.

Hayes Hall 4th floor

Hayes' formerly unused fourth floor will house spaces including studios with skylights looking onto the building's iconic white clock tower. One studio space is shown here under construction in early summer. Photo: Douglas Levere

Since the 1990s, the school’s faculty, staff and students have played a major role in Buffalo’s revival, first drafting official planning documents that reimagined the city and region as a hub of life and commerce, and then leading projects like the design of the dig co-working space in downtown Buffalo and the rehab of a minimalist home in the Black Rock neighborhood.

Hayes will encourage even stronger connections with Western New York.

The building is literally connected to the community; it’s an icon of the South Campus that sits steps away from University Station, a public transportation hub that provides access to the metro going downtown and bus lines heading into the city and out to the suburbs.

Hayes Hall 4th floor rendering as to how it would look like when construction is completed.

A rendering envisions how the attic studio will look when complete. Credit: John M. Wightman, UB MArch/MFA student


Inside Hayes, inspiring spaces will facilitate creative thinking as students and faculty work to solve problems tied to urban development, historic preservation, transit, access to healthy food and more.

The School of Architecture and Planning will start moving into Hayes in early 2016, and a grand reopening is scheduled for fall 2016.

The building’s $42-million renovation and restoration is a key component of UB’s vision for the South Campus, which will continue to serve as an important center of education and research after the medical school moves downtown in 2017.

Other South Campus facilities that have undergone extensive renovations in recent years include John and Editha Kapoor Hall, home to the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; Wende Hall, home to the School of Nursing; Stockton Kimball Tower, home to the School of Public Health and Health Professions; and the third and fourth floors of Farber Hall, home to medical research labs.

Future plans call for the School of Social Work and Graduate School of Education to relocate to the South Campus, facilitating further engagement between these two schools and the Buffalo community.

“UB is re-energizing its South Campus to enhance learning and research, and create a more magnetic public space,” says Laura Hubbard, vice president for finance and administration. “In addition to new and restored facilities, our plan reinforces historic quadrangles, restores the landscape and strengthens neighborhood connections through pedestrian pathways and transit-oriented development.”

Historic building, high-tech details

LED lights are throughout Hayes Hall

Small, swiveling ceiling spotlights will turn hallways into spaces for display and critique. Photo: Douglas Levere

Hayes may be more than a century old, but when it reopens, it’s going to be stocked with the latest technologies.

These include state-of-the-art equipment for exhibiting student and faculty work. A digital projection system in the atrium will beam displays large enough to cover an entire wall. In corridors, small ceiling spotlights will swivel to illuminate posters or models, creating new spaces for formal and informal critiques.

High-tech features will not only serve to enhance teaching and learning, but will make Hayes a sustainable facility. It’s designed for gold certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system, with features such as low-flow faucets and energy-saving environmental controls.

historic details were restored during the reconstruction

Curved plasterwork around windows is a historic detail that will be preserved. Photo: Douglas Levere


But, harkening back to the theme of old and new, one of Hayes’ greenest details will be decidedly low-tech. Inside the building, the plasterwork framing windows will be rounded.

This distinctive detail — part of Hayes’ original design — isn’t just aesthetic; it enables the windows to let in plentiful supplies of sun that will form one of the building’s primary lighting systems.

“Hayes Hall will be an exciting place in which to teach and learn. Its artful combination of historic detailing and modern design will not only inspire students and faculty in the School of Architecture and Planning, but will provide a beacon for all of UB and its neighbors,” says Korydon Smith, associate dean for academic affairs, associate professor of architecture and a graduate of UB’s architecture program.