Live and Study in a Global City

See how Buffalo is building an urban renaissance around its waterfront location, legacy of world-class urban design and architecture and vibrant, walkable neighborhoods.

A great school of architecture and planning relies on a great city for its inspiration. From internationally celebrated buildings and parks and a bustling Lake Erie waterfront to lively urban neighborhoods and a vibrant immigrant community, Buffalo offers the aspiring architect or planner an ideal setting for living and learning.

3/4/13
Dean Robert Shibley argues that Buffalo’s character is directly attributable to the fundamental relationships among our waters, our radial and grid street plan and our park system.

Buffalo sits on the U.S.-Canadian border, on the edge of Lake Erie and just south of Niagara Falls, providing the region an abundance of natural resources and economic advantage, today and throughout the region’s history. As the terminus of the Erie Canal, Buffalo was once one of the nation’s largest ports and remains a symbolic connection between east and west.

Buffalo’s period of great wealth brought master architects Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, H.H. Richardson, and Daniel Burnham to the city to design some of their most important buildings. Wright’s Martin House and Sullivan’s Guaranty Building, in particular, have inspired generations of architects worldwide. Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of New York’s Central Park, laid out Buffalo’s network of parks and parkways. Buffalo is also home to the works of Louise Bethune, revered as “America’s first woman architect,” as well as a world-class collection of artworks and heritage sites. 

In the midst of an urban renaissance, Buffalo is again a center of progressive planning and design – a distinction that has much to do with our students and faculty. The School of Architecture and Planning engages the city, its buildings, landscapes, industries and communities as labs for research, experimentation, and intervention, and is a primary contributor to the region in everything from climate-related planning to industry-applied design technologies.

3/21/13

Architecture students envision over 60 different designs for an expansion to the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. Six of the top student designs are on exhibit at the Botanical Gardnes through May 12.

5/11/18
One-thousand urban planners from across North America, Europe and Asia will be coming to Buffalo in October for the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) national conference, being hosted by the Department of Urban and Regional Planning in the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning.
9/20/13

The School of Architecture and Planning played a critical role in the conception, design and development of Burchfield Penney Art Center's "Front Yard" installation, the world’s first permanent, environmentally-responsive, outdoor audio and video installation.

7/20/18
An article on Archinect News reports on a new documentary at the Venice Architecture Biennale that showcases how students in the UB School of Architecture and Planning are learning from and rebuilding the City of Buffalo. The article notes that UB students and faculty are becoming an integral part of Buffalo’s renaissance, whether working with local refugee entrepreneurs or revitalizing local fabrication and industry, with students using the city itself as a laboratory, deeply embedding themselves in the community and the challenges it faces. The article includes a short video that was shown at the exhibition. The article also appeared on SeriouslyArchitecture.com

A legacy city in the midst of an economic restructuring, the region is riding a wave of reinvestment focused on its urban core, waterfront, and neighborhoods. Yet Buffalo also presents extreme urban challenges — such as population decline, vacancy, and economic disparity. With local-to-global relevance, design and planning innovations developed here in Buffalo emerge as best practices for application to our professions and city-regions around the world.

This historic city is also a place to explore and enjoy. Glide by Buffalo’s waterfront grain elevators in a kayak, savor local cuisine, or visit one of the city’s world-class art galleries. The region’s diverse citizenry is enriched by UB’s status as one of the nation’s top universities for international student enrollment. Two professional sports teams, lively nightlife, and fun, affordable neighborhoods round out the city’s offerings.

Buffalo is truly a global city and a rich context in which to study and experience architecture and planning.