Published December 1, 2014
Robert Shibley, dean and professor, was a keynote presenter at a national conference of Russian architects and planners. Organized by the Union of Architects of Russia (the Russian equivalent of the AIA) and the Russian Academy of Architecture and Construction Sciences, the conference convened in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on Nov. 26-27, 2014.
Titled "Architectural Profession: Time to Change," the conference was the fourth in a series sponsored by the internationally-renowned Saint-Gobain Group to gather architecture professionals across Russia.
Dean Shibley addressed the topic of education and practice across architecture and urban planning, including opportunities for greater alignment and collaboration. Shibley, an architect and planner, presented a case study of the School of Architecture and Planning and its application of research as fertile ground for cross-disciplinary inquiry and creative practice in architecture and planning. In Russia, urban planning is often viewed as subordinate to architecture. Dean Shibley argues that this dichotomy is often apparent in American schools of architecture and planning, as planning departments are often smaller and less successful in the competition for scarce resources.
According to Shibley: "Here in Buffalo, we believe that research is the antidote to conventional separation and subordination among the fields. Indeed, today’s practice environment depends upon the rapid generation of new knowledge and new modes of practice that drive solutions across both design and planning." He adds that the provocative challenges of our increasingly globalized world demand greater collaboration among the professions, in education and in practice. "Consider for a moment that both architecture and planning embrace the power to do things together they can’t do themselves. Consider the possibility that our collective work is not about one profession’s relative dominance over the other, but rather their collaboration that enables great places."