How an architecture school shapes, and is shaped by, its city

Documentary showcases how students from across the School of Architecture and Planning learn from and rebuild the Rust Belt city around them

Published July 19, 2018

Once a city that epitomized the American Dream, since the latter 20th century, Buffalo has been confronted with enormous challenges stemming from its industrial decline.

In the face of sharp population loss and inequality, Buffalo is rising once again. A new kind of city is being built, and students and faculty of the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning are an integral part of this process.

Students use the city itself as a laboratory, deeply embedding themselves in the community and the challenges it faces. Situated on the shores of Lake Erie on the western edge of New York State, Buffalo offers the parameters for intervention through design and urban planning, whether that’s working with local refugee entrepreneurs or revitalizing local fabrication and industry.

"This film really gives us a chance to share Buffalo with the world. What people find is a more complex city than they might have realized."

 - Gregory Delaney, UB professor of architecture and director of See It Through Buffalo, in a video interview on the film

Greg Delaney

Greg Delaney, on site at the See It Through Buffalo exhibition in Venice. Photo by Plane-Site

Their work is being showcased at the Time Space Existence exhibition in Venice through a new film that tells the story of how an architecture and urban planning school can be directly involved in the future of the city it calls home. Their reciprocal and symbiotic relationship is an entirely new way to rethink design and urban planning, one that remains with the trouble of its challenges.

The film, and an accompanying catalog highlighting sites of faculty and student engagement throughout Buffalo will be exhibited at Time Space Existence at Palazzo Bembo in Venice, until November 25, 2018.

See It Through Buffalo was produced by Paget Films and directed by Gregory Delaney, clinical assistant professor of architecture at the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, in association with faculty and students at the school. View the full film credits and biographies

"The exhibition shows some of Buffalo's best and most challenging conditions. Every segment of the film describes some aspect of our scholarshop of our learning and our fully engaged work in the community, not as a promotion but as an inquiry."

- Dean Robert Shibley

Robert Shibley

Robert Shibley, at the See It Through Buffalo exhibition in Venice. Photo by Plane-Site

Project has garnered wide community support

Support for See It Through Buffalo is made possible by donations from over 100 individuals and organizations. Leadership support was also provided by the University at Buffalo, Robert Skerker, who served as executive producer of the film; Boston Valley Terra Cotta; Rigidized Metals Corp.; Peter Hourihan (BA '71); CannonDesign; Robert Shibley and Lynda Schneekloth; the Sydney Gross Memorial Fund; Sheldon Berlow; and Anthony and Suzanne Kissling.