It was over forty years ago when John P. Eberhard, FAIA, came to UB to form the "School of Environmental Design" as a revolutionary experiment in design education.
Today, this spirit of innovation continues to underpin the pedagogy and culture of our school.
The State University of New York Board of Trustees authorized the establishment of the "School of Environmental Design" at the University at Buffalo in 1967. Today, it remains the only School of Architecture and Planning within the SUNY system offering accredited professional degrees in architecture and urban planning.
The School of Architecture and Planning embraces the concept of a broad and liberal education. It is a concept that prepares students for a rapidly changing future even as it respects traditions of the past. The school's programs, therefore, strive to synthesize a wide array of aesthetic, environmental, social, historical, technical and methodological concerns. Above all, the school seeks to educate professionals who are responsible, competent and fully committed to bettering the quality of life for all people and doing so in an ethical manner.
The school's programs reflect a belief that the architecture, planning and other design disciplines embrace more than a knowledge of technical skills: An understanding of human behavior is needed to create a better environment and design professionals must be able to introduce new ideas and also respond to the needs, objectives and aspirations of those who will be affected by their work.
As part of a large university, our students have ready access to computer facilities, libraries and a wide range of courses in departments across the campus. Student life is further enriched by a diverse program of activities, including a busy lecture series with internationally prominent guest speakers, workshops, exhibitions and the participation of prominent architects from practice and critics of note.
John Eberhard, the first dean of the school, was appointed in 1968 and began to plan a curriculum and assemble a faculty with classes beginning in the spring of 1969. Eberhard and his founding faculty engineered an innovative approach to the teaching and thinking about architecture and planning, formulating a school on the broadly based concept of environmental design. They developed a pedagogy rooted in the idea that the design of the environment is dependent on processes, both systematic and humane, which emphasize technical and social issues.
When Dean Harold L. Cohen joined the school in 1974, he continued the innovations started by Eberhard, including the move of the school to Hayes Hall. Cohen founded the Friends of the School of Architecture and Planning, and oversaw the establishment of the school’s library and recruitment efforts that nearly doubled the school's faculty and staff. Dean Cohen was a tireless champion for resources for the school and expanded its working relationship with the university and the community.
Following the retirement of Dean Cohen, Dr. Michael P. Brooks became dean (1984-87) followed by Interim Dean Judith E. Albino (1987-88). Bruno B. Freschi, O.C., joined the school in December 1988, and continued to build on this solid foundation. During his tenure, Dean Freschi worked to establish the school’s annual Clarkson Visiting Chair as well as Intersight, the school’s academic journal, before retiring in 1999.
Between 1999 and 2002, Acting Dean Thomas E. Headrick, and Interim Deans John B. Sheffer, II, and Dr. Kenneth J. Levy provided the leadership of the school. Professor Brian Carter was appointed dean in 2003 and served through 2010, when he transitioned back to a teaching role. Robert Shibley, professor, campus architect for UB, and director of the UB Regional Institute/Urban Design Project, assumed the leadership post for the school in January 2011.