Be the Plus

Celebrating our first 50 years with big ideas and bold action for the next.

50 plus banner image with screened color over an image of students atop Hayes Hall.

The School of Architecture and Planning's founding 50 years ago cannot be understood apart from the context of the late 1960s - a time of social, cultural and political upheaval in our nation and world. Then viewed as a radical departure from traditional design education, UB's program taught architecture and planning in relation to its social and environmental conditions, and prepared community-minded citizens to engage design with the world's problems.

Five decades later, the School of Architecture and Planning again finds itself in a world calling for radical change. Guided by the same boundary-pushing drive, we ask many of these same questions with new urgency - and possibility.

This is our invitation to consider new possibilities for our disciplines as creative, innovative and regenerative forces in our world.

                                                                                                    - Dean Robert G. Shibley       

With our history as inspiration, and a better world as aspiration, we consider new avenues for influence through research, teaching and practice in our disciplines. Join us as we elevate the conversation. 

The first 50 years

Over the course of the 2019-20 academic year, we will document the school's formative years and evolution over five decades - stories that reveal both an enduring drive behind our programs and a persistence in challenges facing education and practice in our professions. 

John Eberhard at his desk at UB in 1969, as pictured on the cover of Engineering News Record in 1969.

Dean John Eberhard and his vision for UB's School of Architecture and Environmental Design were featured in the May 1969 issue of Engineering News-Record.

Installment #1: "Teach them how to think"

When the freshly appointed Dean John Eberhard of UB's new architecture school met with the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects, he was challenged by one member, John Sloan: “Dean Eberhard, I hope you are going to teach these people how to draw.”

Without a pause, Eberhard replied, “Mr. Sloan, I am going to teach them how to think.”

The great one-liner - followed by his reported dramatic exit from the meeting - did not do justice to the weight of intention behind the decision to create the new school and especially what kind of school it would be.

“It will not be a ‘school of architecture’ in the narrow sense, but will involve all that ‘environmental design’ implies.”

- Martin Meyerson, president of the University at Buffalo, 1966-1969

Pushing the "plus"

New lines of inquiry and creative practice by our faculty, students and alumni are pushing our disiplines into new intellectual territory and spheres of influence. From global policy on local food systems planning to design strategies for climate resilient buildings, the intersections of this work reveal new possibilities for dialogue and action.  

Issue #1: Climate change

No other human activity has a greater impact on the climate crisis than the planning, design and development of the built environment. This same burden of responsibility, however, implies the magnitude of possibility for our disciplines to shift the climate crisis trajectory and perhaps the future of our planet. 

Join the conversation

CounterCulture banner.

COUNTER / CULTURE, our 2019-20 public lecture series, takes its cue from the celebration of the School of Architecture and Planning's 50th year and sets up dialogues from a multitude of disciplinary perspectives on the subject of architectural education and institutional critique.

Rendering of plan for Kigali, Rwanda (2008).

African Cities, Nov. 6, 2019    

Vanessa Watson, urban planning professor at Cape Town University, discusses the disconnect between Africa's rapidly growing, mostly poor cities and proposals for their Dubai-like redevelopment. 

Aerial of Kabul, Afghanistan.

The Future of Kabul: 10/9/19

Ahmad Zaki Sarferaz, mayor of Kabul and a 2014 graduate of UB, considers the role of urban planning in his city's navigation of rapid urbanization amidst ongoing conflict. 

Reyner Banham with on a field work expedition with his students at the Larkin Building in Buffalo.

Save the Date: 4/1/20

Join us for a culminating anniversary celebration and exhibtion of alumni work. The exhibition is presented as part of Atelier Week in celebration of the work of our school. Stay tuned for details.

What's your "plus"?

How are you pushing the "plus" of future practice in our disciplines? Tell us how for a chance to be featured on our "Be the Plus" blog. Contact Rachel Teaman, assistant dean for communications: 

Follow on social: #BethePlus