U. Buffalo Designs 'Ritual Space' Installation

(via University of Buffalo News)

The project, called Ritual Space, is the culmination of the yearlong freshman design-build studio in the School of Architecture and Planning. Members of the university community and the public can check out the installation during an opening reception from 4-6 p.m. May 7 at Artpark. Visitors should enter Artpark via the upper entrance, off of Portage Road. The project will be on display in the park indefinitely.

The installation is composed of 10 “ritual spaces” — each measuring 64 square feet with a maximum 10-foot height — that are grouped to form two ritual houses. Each structure captures one of five common daily activities, or rituals: gathering, food prep, eating, bathing and sleeping.

Ten small-scale models created during the fall semester were selected to be further developed for the final project. Students then worked in teams to refine each model, ultimately building larger-scale structures that were installed on site at Artpark last week.

“It’s really exciting. We’ve come so far from where we were earlier in the semester,” says Andrew Griffin, one of 88 students in the class. “We learned to keep pushing, to keep experimenting and building models, even if we weren’t sure if they were going to amount to anything. The whole process of going from concept to sketch to construction documents and the models was really beneficial.”

The freshman studio is led by Karen Tashjian, adjunct assistant professor of architecture, and Matthew Hume, clinical assistant professor of architecture. The course teaches students about principles in design and building in a way that rattles their preconceived notions about the discipline of architecture.

Read more on their website!


UBuffalo architect creates Light/Station installation

(via University of Buffalo News Center)

BUFFALO, N.Y. — During the day, light pours in from two sides through the more than 72,000 holes laser-precision drilled into the stainless steel panels that veil the building’s façade.

At night, an inversion occurs and light glows from within, identifying the structure’s presence in the surrounding neighborhood.

For his newest project, University at Buffalo architect Christopher Romano embarked upon a two-year journey through the manipulation of light and metal as design materials. The result is a signature architectural structure nestled in the shadows of three iconic buildings on Buffalo’s historic East Side.

It’s called Light/Station, and the recently completed project has transformed an abandoned gas mart into a striking 1,545-square-foot design studio, green room and conference facility for Buffalo-based Torn Space, a critically acclaimed, avant-garde theater company.

Light and history were core components of Romano’s design concept from the beginning.

“Light serves as the connective tissue for all the components of the façade. It’s a material. It’s a central element to the multi-layered façade, where the lighting is a layer behind the steel panels, which typically isn’t done because it’s risky,” says Romano, who designed the façade through his firm Studio NORTH Architecture.

Romano is also a research assistant professor in UB’s School of Architecture and Planning. A small team of UB architecture students also worked on the project.

Some of the smaller prototypes were developed and tested using the school’s digital fabrication equipment under the direction of Daniel Vrana, a staff member in the Fabrication Workshop and current employee at Studio NORTH Architecture.



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U. Buffalo Hosts Events on Global Health Equity

(via UB Now)

Global health equity will be the focus of a series of events UB is hosting this spring. Events range from a talk addressing malnutrition among children in developing countries, to hosting leaders from across the Western Hemisphere for the biennial meeting of the Interamerican Network for Healthy Habitats. In addition, UB will host a keynote lecture by a Geneva-based World Health Organization expert, a health summit aimed at improving health for refugees in Western New York, and an innovation challenge for students.Supported by the Community for Global Health Equity and the School of Public Health and Health Professions’ Office of Global Health Initiatives, these events highlight UB’s flourishing global health strengths.“Seven years ago, a small group of public health students developed the concept of the very first Global Health Day here at UB. Since then, we have been able to dramatically expand global health activities on campus, thanks to the generous funding support provided to the SPHHP Office of Global Health Initiatives and the UB Community for Global Health Equity,” said Pavani Ram, a co-director of UB’s Community for Global Health Equity and director for the Office of Global Health Initiatives.“Attracting colleagues from across the Americas and from international organizations such as the World Health Organization is a testament to the exciting global health opportunities now available at the university.”Registration is required for most events. Visit the links below for registration and additional information. Here’s an overview of each event:
March 31: Global Health Day (noon-4 p.m.)
This is the seventh year for this event, which runs from noon to 4 p.m. in 111 Kimball Tower on UB’s South Campus. Keynote speaker Rebecca J. Stoltzfus — professor in the Division of Nutrition Sciences and vice provost for undergraduate education at Cornell University — will discuss the causes of childhood malnutrition. Stoltzfus is engaged in research projects in Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia.Following the keynote address will be presentations from students across a range of disciplines, including architecture, geology and epidemiology.A global health research panel will take place from 3-4 p.m. featuring six UB researchers: Diana Aga, professor of chemistry; Kasia Kordas, associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health; Indranil Goswami, assistant professor of marketing; Helen Wang, associate professor of communication; Oscar Gomez, associate professor of pediatrics; and Samina Raja, associate professor of urban and regional planning.Jean Wactawski-Wende, dean of the School of Public Health and Health Professions, will deliver closing remarks.Global Health Day is co-sponsored by SPHHP’s Office of Global Health Initiatives and the UB Community for Global Health Equity. More info at:
April 18-19: 11th Biennial Meeting of the Inter-American Network of Healthy Habitats
The School of Public Health and Health Professions and the School of Architecture and Planning are hosting this two-day event as part of the university’s role as a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre on Health in Housing.The event will feature a keynote address from Nathalie Roebbel, technical officer in the Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.Presentations will also be given by Samina Raja, associate professor of urban and regional planning, and Henry Louis Taylor, professor of urban and regional planning.
April 20: Symposium on Promoting the Health of Migrants in the Americas
UB’s Community for Global Health Equity will host this symposium on promoting the health of migrants in the Americas featuring keynote speaker Marcelo Korc, a regional adviser with the WHO / Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The symposium will include a presentation by Kim Griswold, associate professor of family medicine, psychiatry and public health and health professions at UB.
April 21: fourth annual WNY Refugee Health Summit (8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.)
Registration is required for this event, which is sponsored by UB’s Office of Global Health Initiatives and the UB Community for Global Health EquityBuffalo is home to over 22,000 foreign-born residents, many of whom are refugees. The foreign-born population increased by 95 percent between 2006 and 2013, doubling the number of students with limited English proficiency in Buffalo’s public schools. Buffalo’s refugee populations are revitalizing and diversifying Buffalo – but challenges remain in delivering effective health care for them.The summit, which takes place in UB’s Educational Opportunity Center (555 Ellicott St., Buffalo), convenes scholars, resettlement agencies, service providers, community support centers, municipal agencies and refugees to explore barriers and solutions to promote culturally engaged health care for refugees in Buffalo.The event begins at 9 a.m. with a welcome by Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. Summit speakers include:
  • Kevin Pottie, founding director of the Immigrant Health Clinic of Ottawa and a researcher in the Centre for Global Health at the University of Ottawa.
  • Meb Rashid, who in his role as medical director of the Crossroads Clinic works with newly arrived refugees in Canada.
  • Sharmila Shetty, a medical epidemiologist in the Emergency Response and Recovery Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Deborah Lee, who for the past 10 years has worked as an epidemiologist in the Immigrant, Refugee and Migrant Health (IRMH) Branch of the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ) on U.S. immigrant and refugee health issues and has managed the Migrant Serum Bank since 2007.

More info at:

May 22-26: Global Innovation Challenge

Teams of UB undergraduate and graduate students will partner with faculty experts and local professionals to compete for funding to further the ideas they’ll hone through the first half of the week.The challenge is for teams to develop strategies that bridge the gap between Western and non-Western “cultures of care” in order to improve the continuity of care, which in turn improves health and wellness among refugees in Buffalo.The week will begin with short presentations from guests, coupled with small- and whole-group discussions. As major themes emerge, teams will surface through a combined approach of self-organizing and facilitator organizing. As the teamwork progresses, each group will be encouraged to focus their proposed strategies toward a specific health care type or situation, group and strategy.Teams will be coached on how to present their ideas, and will get practice and feedback prior to the “pitch” to the jury on May 26.The Global Innovation Challenge was started last year and is organized by the Community for Global Health Equity. More information is available at:
Learn more about the architecture program at University of Buffalo!

Building for the Birds

This article was originally posted on UB’s News Center. 

“I’ve been interested in creating work that not only provides habitable conditions for urban wildlife, but also draws attention to them as an important part of our ecosystem.”

University at Buffalo architect Joyce Hwang’s latest animal architecture creation is a bird-friendly public art installation that both promotes awareness of local avian species and calls attention to a common but often invisible peril: bird-glass window collisions.

Bower — which was co-designed by Hwang and New York City-based artist Ellen Driscoll and sited along a wooded trail in Artpark in Lewiston, New York — is a series of architectural fragments that host bird nesting boxes and feature custom-designed glass “windows” composed of drawings and anti-bird-strike patterning. A bower is a leafy shelter of recess, an arbor or a rustic dwelling.

The opening event for Bower will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 11, at Artpark (450 S 4th St, Lewiston). It is free and open to the public. The installation is located at the entrance to the Upper Gorge Trail.

The nesting boxes are designed to accommodate a variety of local bird species, such as chickadees, wrens, bluebirds and purple martins. The window images are created from drawings that depict local bird species that have come to prefer human-made structures to nest in. Some, like the purple martin, make an annual journey of 3,000 miles from North America to Latin America and back again.


Bower comprises three architectural fragments, each made of cedar, with nesting boxes for a variety of local bird species, including chickadees, wrens and bluebirds.

The images in the windows are overlaid with a grid of dots, a pattern that prevents birds from colliding with the pane of glass.


Detail of one of Bower’s glass “windows” that features drawings depicting local bird species and anti-bird-strike patterning.

“Bird-glass collision is one of the most significant causes of bird mortality in urban areas. Yet, this condition is often overlooked,” says Hwang, an associate professor of architecture whose research at UB, and through her practice Ants of the Prairie, explores the boundaries and relationships between the built environment and contemporary ecologies.

“While there are a growing number of organizations that are beginning to address this issue through legislation, I think it is important for designers to more tangibly draw awareness to birds and their safety,” Hwang said.

The intent behind Bower was to create a structure that challenges the idea that building enclosures serve as a boundary between the inside and outside, between us and “them” — them being the wilderness, animals or the weather.

“I see habitat loss in cities as a significant ecological condition to contend with. I’ve been interested in creating work that not only provides habitable conditions for urban wildlife, but also draws attention to them as an important part of our ecosystem,” says Hwang, whose previous works include Bat Tower in Griffis Sculpture Park and Habitat Wall: Chicago, a sculptural habitat for birds and bats.

Bower is the inaugural program for Artpark as a Living Laboratory, a multi-year initiative to transform Artpark into a collection of artistic strategies that advance environmental awareness, literacy and sustainable development.

It was commissioned by Artpark along with Mary Miss, who directs City as Living Laboratory (CALL), an organization dedicated to addressing environmental issues through meaningful engagement of diverse communities.

Hwang and Driscoll, who is also professor and director of the studio arts program at Bard College, worked with Matthew Hume, adjunct assistant professor of architecture at UB, on the project’s construction and installation.

Thursday’s event will include a presentation, reception and walking tour led by the three faculty members, along with Lauren Makeyenko of the Audubon Society and Mary Miss.

Bower’s design and fabrication team included several current and former architecture students: John Nathaniel Costello, Olivia Rose Arcara, John Wightman and Casey Hume. Katharina Dittmar, associate professor of biological sciences in UB’s College of Arts and Sciences, and graduate student Heather Williams provided ecological consultation. Structural engineering was provided by Mark L. Bajorek, with glass fabrication by Moon Shadow Glass.

The three architectural fragments that comprise Bower are made of cedar. The tallest point is 15 feet above ground. Creating the foundation for the installation posed a unique challenge.

“Artpark encouraged us to find a new way to make a foundation rather than pouring a concrete pad. We were also not allowed to dig into the ground due to regulations at Artpark, so we had to develop an innovative solution,” Hwang said.

The foundation, developed in collaboration with Bajorek, a local structural engineer, is composed of four layers of wood framing that is weighed down by earth and gravel.

Bower was developed with support from the Garman Family Foundation and Pamela and Joseph Priest.

A presentation on Artpark Percussion Garden, another UB project, will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Artpark Percussion Garden is a series of installations by UB’s Percussion Ensemble presenting playful opportunities for visitors to explore different ways to interact and produce sound.

See the University of Buffalo Architecture Program’s profile on StudyArchitecture! 

U. Buffalo Designs A Home for All

(via UB News Center)

Home for All: University of Buffalo Design Students Use Universal Design Principles to Design Habitat for Humanity Home

Later this summer, a family will move into their new home on Buffalo’s East Side. Thanks to a pilot project between Habitat for Humanity and the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning, the family will be comfortable staying in the house for a long time, even as its members reach their elderly years.

Students created designs for the home renovation that feature principles of universal design – a first for Habitat Buffalo.

Universal design seeks to increase usability, health and social participation for a diverse population. The home on Sussex Street, near Erie County Medical Center, will be the first to be completed as part of the UB-Habitat pilot project.

It started in the fall with a one-semester studio taught by Ed Steinfeld and Peter Russell. Steinfeld is a professor of architecture and director of the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDeA Center) in UB’s School of Architecture and Planning. He’s also an internationally renowned expert on universal design. Russell is the manager of the school’s Materials and Methods Shop.

Steinfeld and Russell challenged their students to develop innovative solutions to difficult problems of affordable housing design and construction that Habitat for Humanity could adopt. Students produced construction documents, research reports and visualizations to communicate their innovative ideas.

In a spring construction course taught by Russell, students then worked on the home, performing demolition and building alongside Habitat’s team of volunteers. The house is close to being ready for occupancy.

“I cannot think of a more complete package partnership than this: UB students design and build a house that will actually go to a Habitat family. It’s awesome,” said Barry Weiss, the construction manager for Habitat Buffalo.

“The studio portion of this pilot was hugely successful,” he said. “Normally, we have one designer develop a blueprint for our houses. For the Sussex Street home, we had 12 students offering different ideas. That allowed us to choose from a variety of options to find a design that would be most appropriate for that particular family and for the way that we build. It was an exciting opportunity for us and we look forward to doing it again in the future.”

University at Buffalo students work on the interior of a Habitat for Humanity house on Buffalo's East Side.

University at Buffalo students work on the interior of a Habitat for Humanity house on Buffalo’s East Side. (Photo by Douglas Levere)


Photo by Douglas Levere


Photo by Douglas Levere


Photo by Douglas Levere

All amenities — including the laundry facilities — are accessible from the first floor. In addition, the first-floor bathroom will include storage shelving that could be removed years from now, creating space for a roll-in shower. The back of the house was designed to accommodate a lift, again allowing for aging in place to occur.

“I wanted to create a house design that’s accessible for all,” explained Gallersdorfer, an Akron, New York, native who received her master of architecture in May. “The whole idea is that by planning for these things now, you can save on costs down the road as the family ages. I wanted to show that it’s possible to make adaptability affordable.” Read more