Learn by Doing

A learn-by-doing approach to professional education is the crux of our programs in architecture and urban planning at the University at Buffalo. From the studio to the community, students and faculty at the School of Architecture and Planning constantly “do” and “make” through applied research, built works and creative activities. Here at UB, design inquiry becomes design-build while planning concepts become adopted plans for neighborhoods and regions.

Chronicle screenshot

The national Chronicle of Higher Education offers a comprehensive look at the school's city-as-classroom approach to teaching and research in architecture and urban planning, and the role that's played in Buffalo's resurgence.

As a community of makers, we translate knowledge into practice and design the solutions that improve communities and innovate practice. Situated within the resurging City of Buffalo and its surrounding binational region, we engage in constant creative dilalogue with local industries, firms, designers, planners, governments, and an active grassroots movement. Consider Buffalo as a testbed for climate action planning for Great Lakes cities, an incubator for architectural material innovation with local industry, or a model for micro-development in transitioning urban neighborhoods. Our global engagements run just as deep. For more than 20 years our students have worked on the ground in Costa Rica on sustainable, ecologically-just design, while summer studios and research engagements span India, Korea, Japan, China, Barcelona, Seoul and the Baltic States. Our study abroad program alone spans seven countries and three continents.

11/20/17

Continuing a series of design-build competitions that activate the newly renovated Hayes Hall as a site for research through making, the school invites faculty and students to submit proposals for the design and fabrication of window seating areas on the building's staircase landings.  

11/6/17
A graduate urban planning studio’s plan for preserving the cultural and historical landscape of Buffalo’s Scajaquada Creek corridor has won the American Planning Association New York Upstate Chapter “Outstanding Student Project” award for 2017.
9/13/17
Students took everyday items - plywood palettes and garbage totes - and turned them into neighborhood beatification projects for their own communities through a Center for Urban Studies summer camp program.
9/4/17

Incoming students jumped right into the classroom on a daylong orientation tour of Buffalo's world-class architecture and urban design. A key component of orientation, the tour introduces UB's future architects and planners to the city as a source of inspiration and site of investigation.

With a fully-equipped fabrication shop and materials shop available right on campus, the School of Architecture and Planning makes digital and physical modeling easily accessible to students in all programs. Architecture students experience the maker culture from the start, including an introduction to "thinking through making" in freshman studio, advanced modeling in comprehensive studio, and intensive engagement with materials and building technologies at the graduate level. 

Such hands-on engagement and critical practice within our local and global communities cultivate core skills for todays rapidly changing professions — entrepreneurial and design activist sensibilities, collaborative agility, leadership and client relations, and facility with technology and full-scale planning, design, and construction.