Published April 17, 2019
The Buffalo firm HHL Architects, whose ties to the school date back to 1969 when both organizations were founded, has established a student assistance fund to commemorate the 50-year-old partnership.
The HHL Architects Student Assistance Fund will support architecture students at UB with an annual merit-based award to top-performing students demonstrating financial need.
HHL’s current partners, Matthew Meier and Kenneth Riter, have sponsored the award to celebrate the firm's and School of Architecture and Planning's shared commitment to advancing the profession as both organizations mark their 50th anniversary in 2019.
“We are proud to support UB architecture students with the HHL Architects Student Assistance Fund,” say Meier. “It is a fitting way to honor a half-century of architectural excellence at each of our organizations.”
Dean Robert Shibley says the scholarship builds upon a rich partnership between the two organizations. “We are grateful for this support and HHL Architects’ continued contributions to our program. Our students, our region, and our profession are better for it."
HHL’s founding partners – Michael Hamilton, Frederic Houston, and Theodore Lownie – established the firm in 1969 to provide high-quality architectural design and improve architecture in communities throughout Western New York.
The late 1960s also marked the emergence of UB’s new architecture program – the School of Architecture and Environmental Design. In 1968, the school’s founding dean, John Eberhard, began assembling faculty and convened the school’s first class of students in 1969.
By the early 1970s, all three HHL partners had been recruited to teach at UB, part of Eberhard’s strategy to build a faculty base of both scholars and practitioners.
According to current leadership at HHL, the firm saw it as an opportunity to stimulate access to a more affordable architectural education and improve the quality of architecture in the region through the training of future practitioners.
Partner Kenneth Riter recalls the firm’s intent: “Mike, Fred and Ted pledged their time to train young architects in the profession of architecture and in the principles of architectural planning and design."
In a recent interview with the school, Lownie, who passed away in 2017, spoke of the promising results of that partnership: “There is far greater interest in architecture in Buffalo because of the school. No question about it. Architecture is practiced at a higher level than before.”
The firm’s leadership and staff architects have remained engaged with the school over the decades as teachers, partners, mentors, and frequent attendees of the school’s public lecture series.
Dean Robert Shibley says the scholarship builds upon a rich partnership between the two organizations. “We are grateful for this support and HHL Architects’ continued contributions to our program. Our students, our region, and our profession are better for it.”
Over the past 50 years, HHL has built its reputation as a firm with a keen eye for design and a commitment to providing quality service to its community and clients.
The firm is well known for its work in historic preservation, adaptive reuse as well as new construction design. Among its projects are Erie Community College’s Flickinger Athletic Center, the Uniland Development Company office building at 285 Delaware, the Newstead Public Library, and Canalside’s Longshed Building.
Ahead of its time, HHL set up shop in 1969 in a restored a 19th century home in Buffalo’s Allentown neighborhood. Today its portfolio of renovation and restoration projects includes the Darwin Martin House Complex, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Common Council Chamber in Buffalo City Hall, Buffalo’s Theatre Place, the Roycroft Inn and Kleinhan’s Music Hall.
Meier says the firm looks forward to extending its commitment to design excellence and community impact through its support of future architects at the School of Architecture and Planning:
“As HHL marks its 50th anniversary, the mission of the current owners continues to be a focus on high-quality design, valued community benefit, and superior client service, while also fostering and mentoring young talent entering the profession of architecture.”