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.

3/16/18

Ritual Space is a freshman architecture project that embraces the comprehensive studio model. Over the course of one year students learn to design and construct small wood joints that lead to full scale structural systems.

1/25/18
Freshman studio is a rite of passage for the aspiring architect and, for most students, a metamorphosis of sorts. Over the course of a year of intensive, hands-on study, the student evolves from someone who looks at buildings to a designer who thinks through making, able to create spaces and experiences.
6/10/16

Over one week in late May, teams of University at Buffalo students representing a range of fields —architecture and planning, engineering, public health, chemistry, computer science, pharmacy and management — put their heads together to develop actionable ideas to help solve this problem in two countries with critical need: India and Uganda.

6/22/16

An effort to engage School of Architecture and Planning faculty and students in finishing their newly renovated home in UB's Hayes Hall has yielded architectural innovation in perhaps the most functional and mundane of spaces - the mailroom.

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.