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Architecture + Advocacy by Robert T. Coles Officially Released

Buffalo Arts Publishing is pleased to announce the release of the illustrated memoir of noted African American architect, Robert Traynham Coles, FAIA. Publication of this book was made possible by a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $5,000 this past summer.  Architecture + Advocacy has as its stated purpose the continuation of Coles’ pursuit to inspire more young minorities and women to follow a career in architecture.

This richly illustrated book is a success story of inspiration and hope that carried Buffalo-born Robert Traynham Coles, the son of a postal worker, through a 50-year career as an architect. When a high school teacher sought to discourage him, telling him there were no opportunities for Negroes in architecture, Coles became determined to prove him wrong. His native ability and perseverance propelled him through a master’s degree from M.I.T. to opening his own firm in 1963 and leading to senior positions in the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the AIA College of Fellows.

In 2012, after 50 years of practice in Buffalo, New York, and Washington D.C., Robert Coles closed his office. His memoir, written in collaboration with historian friend William H. Siener, PhD, and based on articles about his career, personal recollections and extensive records of his firm, documents his architectural legacy. Among the many Western New York projects completed by Coles’ firm are the SUNYAB Alumni Arena and Natatorium, the John F. Kennedy Recreation Center, and the Frank E. Merriweather, Jr., Branch Library.

Architecture + Advocacy is available in hard cover for $39.95 in local bookstores, online at Amazon, or from the publisher at

Buffalo Arts Publishing was created in 2011, and has published more than a dozen books by or about Western New York artists and writers.

Written by Mike Puma

Mike Puma

Writing for Buffalo Rising since 2009 covering development news, historic preservation, and Buffalo history. Works professionally in historic preservation.

View All Articles by Mike Puma
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