Photos by Pinelopi Papadimitraki
Published January 29, 2018
A winter break career trek to New York City gave students from the School of Architecture and Planning a behind-the-scenes look at one of the world’s most dynamic places for the built environment professions.
Twenty-nine students crisscrossed the boroughs on a dizzying two-day excursion that included site visits to signature development projects, a chance to see the inner workings of major employers, and networking opportunities with alumni at work across the professions.
The Road Trip NYC Career Experience is a university-wide career preparation program sponsored by UB’s Office of Career Services and Alumni Association. The School of Architecture and Planning’s program was organized by Robert Hill, alumni engagement and development director for the school, and Mark Foerster, senior fellow of real estate development for UB.
There was something for everyone on this trip, with student participants representing architecture, urban planning and real estate development programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels.
Students spent the first day touring several high-profile affordable housing and mixed-use developments. Among these was Essex Crossing, a megaproject that will transform a neglected part of the Lower East Side of Manhattan into nine parcels of workforce housing, office, retail and a park. The tour was led by the project’s lead developer, UB alumnus Donald Capoccia (BA ’78), managing principal of BFC Partners. Capoccia, who is supporting new research at the school on affordable housing prototypes, then hosted students at his home for more conversation on the dynamics of the profession.
Other sites included Beach Green North, a passive house development recognized for its water and energy conservation features, developed by The Bluestone Organization in Queens. Heading to Brooklyn, UB architecture alum Dale White (BAED ’05), development manager of Jonathan Rose Companies, led students through Caesura, an innovative micro-unit housing project.
Students met dozens of alumni overall. A Career Conversations networking event sponsored by the UB Alumni Association brought students together with 13 School of Architecture and Planning grads, among them Dean’s Council members Randy Asher (BS ’95) and Franklin Dickinson (MArch ’85, BPS '83)), and president-elect of UB Alumni Association Gary Jastrzab (BA ’73), who came in from Philadelphia.
Day 2 kicked off with a visit to One World Trade Center, the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex. Eric Engelhardt (BPS ’95), who oversees leasing for the project as senior managing director of The Durst Organization, led a tour of what is now the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.
Students spent the rest of the day on tracks customized for their programs.
Architecture students visited the New York offices of three global architecture firms – CannonDesign, Gensler and Kohn Pedersen Fox. Firm leaders and alums toured students through the firm’s studios and offered a glimpse of some of their latest projects – including the model shop at Gensler and CannonDesign’s integration of augmented reality for building and design visualizations.
Real estate and urban planning students gained important lessons in regional transportation planning during a visit to the offices of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees the nation’s largest public transit system; high-rise residential development, with a tour lead by Lance Franklin (BPS ’87), CEO of Triton Construction Companies, of his Jackson Park project in Long Island City; and co-working and workplace design from Ivan Kondili (BAED ’03), who is director of development for WeWork. Their trip culminated with a visit to Hudson Yards in Manhattan, the largest private development in New York City since Rockefeller Center.
The immersive experience was an inspiration and affirmation for student Nina Zesky, a graduate of the environmental design program who enters the MUP program this spring: “I had the time of my life exploring every corner of NYC at UB’s Career Road Trip. This trip really showed me that I’m right where I belong because I’ve found my passion, and now cultivating this passion is what I need to focus on as I head into my graduate of Urban Planning Program this semester.”
Students’ enthusiasm showed in an Instagram takeover organized by the school. Four students captured inspiring moments through photos and testimonial of the people they met, the places they visited, and the things they learned. Among the takeover group was Zesky, MUP student Jim Cielencki, MArch student Aubrey Fan, and real estate development student Ye Wu. (View the takeover).
The trip's organizers, Mark Foerster and Robert Hill of the School of Architecture and Planning, said this year's packed program was a success.
“Treks to New York and other cities expose our students to the work being done by some of the top firms in the world, and to the innovations in design, construction, and business strategy that are transforming those cities,” said Foerster, who accompanied students on the tours.
Added Robert Hill: “This trip is designed to connect students to alumni and a wide range of professionals, and to do so in a professional environment. We hope the students leave with a better understanding of the many career opportunities they have and how they can benefit from alumni who are open to helping them.”
Thank you to all our Alumni and Professional Hosts
Alumni Attendees of the Career Conversations Networking Event
Randy J. Asher
Philip M. Brown
Marc Eric Bruffett
Ivor O. Cummings
Gary J. Jastrzab
Kendra E. Logan
Tina Elise Macica
Suzanne M. Musho
Mark W. Nusbaum