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Architectural Historians to Converge in Buffalo at Annual Conference Next Month

Buffalo is hosting another
prestigious conference focused on levering our historic assets. The
Society of Architectural Historians
will be having their annual conference
in the city this April from the 10th to the 14th at the
convention center. The event will draw hundreds of visitors to Buffalo from
fields like urban planning, architecture, preservation, and architectural history.
Registration information is available by clicking
. Online registration ends this Friday, but people will still be able
to register on-site the day the conference starts between 7am and 5pm at the
convention center. 

The primary focus of the
conference will be how Buffalo can utilize historic preservation as a tool for
long-term urban, cultural and economic sustainability. 
The conference includes
educational sessions and tours of iconic Buffalo buildings like the Kleinhans
Music Hall and the Hotel Lafayette. Several local professionals and UB
professors are involved in the conference and hosting roundtable discussions,
educational sessions, etc.

Tom Yots, executive director
of Preservation Buffalo Niagara, and Despina Stratigakos, UB associate
professor of architecture, are the conference’s local co-chairs. “After
arriving in Buffalo, I kept telling people elsewhere what an incredible city it
is in terms of the architecture and the planning idea — the creative past and
continuing spirit — and at a certain point, I realized that it really has to be
seen, in a way, to be absorbed,” Stratigakos said. “Buffalo has many
architectural gems, but more than that, there’s a very interesting, radical
history here of innovation. SAH has never been to Buffalo in its 65 years of
holding meetings, and the last time the conference was held in New York State
was in the 1960s, so it’s a big deal that this event is coming to town.”

Here is just one example of
many education sessions happening at the conference.  Conservation,
Restoration, and Architectural History: 
“An important part of
architectural history entails the study of life within, among, and between the
designed spaces of buildings, but the temporal lives of buildings themselves
pose a peculiar challenge to architectural historians. As a product of
constantly shifting plans and processes, buildings are always caught within a
continuous narrative where they inevitably change form, through growth and
decay; they are remodeled, expanded, gutted, demolished, forgotten, or rebuilt.
The conservator and the architectural historian both search for the origins of
these processes, reconstructing primary forms through fragments, photographs,
plans, and other historical evidence.
This session explores the
possibilities of conservation, in both its historical and practical modes, to
accommodate the movement of time, to preserve its fluidity, stabilize its
heterogeneity, and render accessible its historical morphology rather than
seeking to fix its imaginary origins.”

Information about the SAH
public events can
be found here
and information regarding the tours can be found here. For additional photos from my collection of Buffalo at Night, check out my Flickr page here.

Check out the SAH conference in action from the Detroit conference last year.

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Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette, and the Madd Tiki Winter Luau. Other projects: Navigetter.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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  1. Great that the Conference is being held in Buffalo and that many of our architectural treasures will be receiving exposure to a national group of highly educated professionals in the historical preservation field.
    While seeing the usual group of buildings that have been successfully saved from destruction it would also be a good idea to take them to what’s left of the Bethlehem Steel Administration Building.
    It would be very useful if the group were to undertake a study on what went wrong and what could be done to prevent future destruction of sites that are in similar peril.
    Might also be a good idea to publish a pamphlet with the face of the owner, a Mr. Detweiler of Buffalo
    Crushed Stone on the cover, explaining how he spitefully thwarted effort’s of preservationist’s and potential developers to save it.
    Actually, Detweiler could and should be the poster child of the conference for the ignorant types of humans that destroy exactly the type of thing the attendee’s are proponent’s of.
    This material could be taken back to the communities the members are from to alert them as to what could happen in their own backyards unless proactive efforts are taken to prevent it.

  2. My sentiments exactly….look at the demolitions this year….and every year for the last 80 years. Bethkehem Steel was a major loss.
    But what good are these architects if the won’t design and build a period building…here we are touting the merits of our period architecture and it can’t get designed and built. They want to relegate architectural design to a museum…yet I can buy furniture from any period I like…people recognize the merits and sense of place that design contributes. It makes no difference whether its a chair or the facade of a building.
    What good are the architects if these buildings that we hold as prized gems are against the zoning laws and are illegal to be built.

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