Student design concept for Buffalo's East Side turns gentrification on its head

Black Dandy.

"Black Dandy" was developed out of the Department of Architecture's senior housing studio, which asked students to consider the urban dwelling as threshold between public and private space.

Published February 15, 2019

UB senior architecture students Boubacar Sow and Rion Codrington's proposal for "Black Dandy" channels gentrification toward middle- and high-income blacks with the object of diversifying the class profile of Buffalo's segregated East Side neighborhood.

The project was developed for the senior housing studio, "Urban Life: Self + Society," which asked students to consider a Buffalo urban dwelling as an intersection of public and private space.

["Black Dandy (noun) - A gentleman or lady who intentionally appropriates classical European fashion, but injects it with an African diasporian aesthetic or sensibility.]

Sow's and Codrington's concept transforms the 'suburban' logic of detached housing and retail into an aggregated 'urban' island that elevates the image of black culture in the city. The project employs a "Robinhood scheme" that diverts proceeds from on site retail amenities to subsidize the purchase of the project's penthouse units by first-time homeowners.

Rendering of the project "Black Dandy".

"Black Dandy," by Boubacar Sow and Rion Codrington, transforms the 'suburban' logic of detached housing and retail into an aggregated 'urban' island that elevates the image of black culture in the city.

Geographically, the Black Dandy will serve as an urban gateway between the neglected low-income neighborhoods to the east and the well-served districts of the city's downtown area.

The project's aesthetic combines the urban massing strategy of Dutch Modern housing projects with brick patterning that captures the ornamental motifs of high black culture across time. This scheme creates a synthetic visual aesthetic for the new black spatial codes that will emerge from the mix of class identities within this structure. The common green on the first and tenth floors operate as a social mixing zone that provides a semi-private respite for the residents within.

The School of Architecture and Planning's "Celebrating Black History, Investing in Black Futures" campaign, to continue throughout February as Black History Month, will shine a spotlight on the accomplishments and activities of our Black faculty, alumni, staff and students. The campaign will also recognize critical research and programs that celebrate the Black experience.

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