Since its founding in 1969, in the throes of Buffalo’s decline, the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning has engaged the city’s transitioning landscapes as spaces for experimentation and innovation. The work has not only fostered Buffalo’s renaissance but generated innovation at the global scale, revealing new possibilities in community-engaged teaching and research.
To honor the places and people of Buffalo – as sources of inspiration, sites of investigation, and partners in innovation – the School is hosting A City and its School, an installation of two internationally debuted exhibitions exploring the urban landscapes of Buffalo and the School’s work within them over the past 50 years. The exhibition, installed at CEPA Gallery in Buffalo, will run from April 8 – May 1, 2022. A soft opening of the exhibition will take place on April 5 from 4 pm – 5:30 pm as part of the School of Architecture and Planning’s 50+ Anniversary Celebration on April 5-6, 2022, which includes a series of public events and exhibitions celebrating the work of faculty, students and alumni.
See it Through Buffalo
“See It Through Buffalo” and “Buffalo Constructing Buffalo: From Olmsted to Van Valkenburgh” were featured in the 2018 and 2021 editions of Time Space Existence, an international exhibition in Italy that runs in parallel with the Venice Architecture Biennale. Installed biennially by the European Cultural Centre, Time Space Existence convenes hundreds of architects, artists, designers and universities from around the world to provoke conversation on the most pressing challenges facing the discipline today. The School of Architecture and Planning was recognized in its invitation for rooting design and planning education in research and intensive engagement with its host region.
See It Through Buffalo is a documentary short and cinematic tribute to the varied urban landscapes of Buffalo, where faculty and students work hand-in-hand with the community to address issues such as energy-efficient design, economic development, food systems planning, and refugee resettlement. It was co-produced with noted Buffalo filmmaker John Paget of First+Main Films, and directed by Gregory Delaney, UB clinical assistant professor of architecture, for the 2018 Time Space Existence exhibition in Venice, Italy.
The 15-minute film is a pensive-yet-hopeful, intrepid-yet-candid glimpse of our city, and a bold visual expression of the history of the city and the work of our faculty and students. “See it Through Buffalo” offers an experience of the iconic and everyday sights and sounds of place, from wind turbines alongside abandoned industry, to the machines of new industry, to the delight of children at play in new urban landscapes. The immersive experience features a full-wall projection and a custom score by the award-winning Canadian composer Eli Bennett.
Since its debut in Venice, “See It Through Buffalo” has been screened at the Ford Foundation for Social Justice in New York City in 2019 as part of a panel conversation with the Harvard Graduate School of Design and Yale School of Architecture. In 2020, the film was an official selection of the United Nations-Habitat “Better Cities Film Festival” in Abu Dhabi.
Director: Gregory Delaney
Producer: John Paget, First+Main Films
Executive Producer: Robert Skerker
Director of Photography: John Paget
Editor: Thomas Warner
Associate Producer: Robert Shibley
Music Composer: Eli Bennett
Sound Designer: Daryl Bennett
Assistant Director: Korydon Smith
Timelapse Cinematographers: John Paget, Thomas Warner
Aerial Cinematographer: Brandon Moran
Contributing Videographers: Nathan Peracciny, Kyle Toth
Equipment Technicians: Gerard Kawczinski, Wade Georgi
CEPA Gallery installation directed by Gregory Delaney and Eric Burlingame (MS Arch ’18)
Buffalo Constructing Buffalo: From Olmsted to Van Valkenburgh
The “See It Through Buffalo” film screening will be installed alongside an exhibition showcasing the School’s engagement of more than 2,000 citizen voices in the planning of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., Centennial Park emerging on Buffalo’s Lake Erie waterfront. “Buffalo Constructing Buffalo: From Olmsted to Van Valkenburgh,” featured in the 2021 edition of Time Space Existence, is a visual narrative interpreting the civic planning process behind the park, the foundation of city plans that informed it, and the best practices research that inspired it.
A multi-layered story on the complex relationship between a school and its city, the exhibition captures the collective impact of hundreds of acts of planning, design and making in the city and region led by faculty, students and the citizens of Buffalo over the past half century. The story is presented as a series of illustrated story boards created by Buffalo-based visual artist Ariel Aberg-Riger. Dozens of planning reports, technical drawings and studies developed by the School allow visitors to explore the park’s planning process while copies of the city’s full planning framework reveal the collective vision for Buffalo’s future. A video on Imagine LaSalle produced by John Paget’s First + Main Films will also be shown as part of the exhibit.
Dean Robert G. Shibley is curator of “Buffalo Constructing Buffalo.” Exhibition design was led by former UB architecture faculty member Julia Jamrozik with assistance from UB architecture students Lukas Fetzko UB architecture students Stanicka Mathurin, Rutuja Shinde, and Christopher Sweeney. The visual narrative is by Ariel Aberg-Riger.
Lukas Fetzko (MArch ’20, BS Arch ’18) is directing the exhibition’s installation at the CEPA Gallery
The transformation of Buffalo’s LaSalle Park into a world-class waterfront park is the result of an historic gift to the city by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, in partnership with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, a New York-based landscape architecture firm, has led the park’s design. The City of Buffalo is an active project partner represented by its Division of Parks and Recreation, the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, the Department of Community Services and Recreational Programming, and the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning. The University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning and one of its research centers, the UB Regional Institute, have been guiding the engagement process since 2018 to ensure broad and meaningful community input shape the park’s future.