Can you imagine the influence that a UB preservation program would have had on Buffalo if it were started years ago? Getting students involved with the history of the city, as it relates to irreplaceable architecture, is paramount. We may have already lost more than most people can even imagine, but at the same time we still have world class architectural bounty that is here to be studied and preserved for generations to come.
The University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning is now offering two new programs that will start this fall:
- A master of science in architecture degree
- An 18-credit advanced certificate program geared toward architects, planners, historians, lawyers, journalists and other professionals who feel that learning about historic preservation can advance their careers
“For our school, it’s been a long-standing labor of love to engage the historical context of our community,” says Robert G. Shibley, dean of architecture and planning. “We have had a long history in urban design and preservation, thinking critically about our region’s existing stock of buildings, their importance and how the fabric of our community has evolved in an industrial and increasingly post-industrial city.”
At the same time, Buffalo can use as many preservation minds that it can muster. Along with those minds, it’s imperative that UB continue to invest in the architectural stock of the city. Adding to the current momentum is the only way to right the major wrong that we saw so long ago – when planners placed the crux of the university on sprawling swampland… a decision that continues to plaque the city to this day.
Today we have a chance to link the Medical Campus to the South Campus (University Heights), by shoring up additional marginalized historic building stock that is located along the Metro Rail line (the city’s higher ed spinal cord that also connects to the waterfront, Canisius College, and Medaille College). The more the university places an emphasis on the importance of the buildings, the better chance we have of rescuing at-risk structures (like this one). A combination of minds and money, put toward the bright future of our historic landmarks, is a win-win for the city.
By getting both professors and students working together in an involved manner to understand our architectural history and to identify problems and solutions to retain prominent structures is a crucial step towards saving what we have – like old industrial buildings such as the one seen in the lead image and below (133 Tonawanda Street along Scajaquada Creek where workers are currently clearing out debris). The right project here could be an incredible boon for Amherst Street and Niagara Street… Tonawanda Street is a natural connector route between the two districts.
“We thought there was an unmet need in the region — an underserved market of people who genuinely want to get a firmer base in historic preservation,” Shibley says.
The two new UB programs will:
- Gain an understanding of the role that heritage plays in architecture and planning
- Learn about legislation relating to historic preservation
- Learn how to conduct an analysis of a building’s current condition, and how to use the “tools of the trade” to draft compelling proposals for nominating buildings as historic landmarks
- Students in the master’s program will complete a capstone project that focuses on an actual building or site in the Buffalo Niagara region. Projects could include nominating a structure as a historic landmark, or developing guidelines for a new building that fits in a historic district
“Increasingly, employers in the planning- and architecture-related fields are looking to hire people that have a familiarity with historic preservation, if not a professional degree, and so we are trying to fulfill those needs,” says Ashima Krishna*, assistant professor of urban and regional planning, who will teach in both new programs.
“Every year, we have students and architecture aficionados come from all over the world to see our architecture, and our visitors’ bureau has really focused on our region’s heritage. We have hosted major preservation and architectural history conferences,” says Barbara A. Campagna, an adjunct professor of architecture, School of Architecture and Planning alumna and seasoned preservation professional who helped organize the new programs. “It all seems to be coming together, and the one thing that seemed to be missing in the region is a preservation program.”
Both programs start in fall. Prospective students can apply through June 1, with more information on the programs available at http://ap.buffalo.edu/academics/programs-in-historic-preservation.html.
*Krishna, an architect and historic preservation planner, researches the preservation and management of historic landscapes in developing countries.