BUFFALO, N.Y.-- Freshman architecture students from the
University at Buffalo have designed and are building a 96-foot-long
string of wooden micro-dwellings that will open to the public later
this month at Griffis Sculpture Park. Assembly of "The Living Wall"
will conclude the week of April 25.
The UB School of Architecture and Planning is inviting the
public as well as students, professors and critics to attend an
opening reception and dedication ceremony for "The Living Wall" at
1 p.m. on April 29 at the main entrance of the Griffis Sculpture
Park, 6902 Mill Valley Road, East Otto in Cattaraugus County.
The installation will stay up for at least 18 months at Griffis,
where visitors will be able to climb on, over and through the
interconnected micro-dwellings. Information on Griffis is available
online at http://www.griffispark.org.
"Creating a full-scale structure gives first-year students an
opportunity to see, firsthand, what the design and construction
process is like from start to finish. They've gone from drawings
and models to building a full-scale project," said Christopher
Romano, UB clinical assistant professor and one of four
coordinating faculty members overseeing the students' work.
The other faculty members are Clinical Associate Professor Shadi
Nazarian and Adjunct Assistant Professors Nicholas Bruscia and
This year's Living Wall, which consists of 12 micro-dwellings,
is the second of its kind. Last year's freshman class erected a
similar community of tiny buildings, but the faculty members say
that this year's project will be distinct in the following
-- Last year's Living Wall was straight. The formation of this
year's wall is closer to that of a boomerang, with a bend in the
-- Some of the pods that form this year's wall are about 12 feet
high -- significantly higher than any part of last year's wall.
-- This year's wall contains a wider variety of geometries, with
some individual units incorporating curved or pyramidal forms.
Working in groups of six to seven, about 80 students were tasked
with creatively transforming uniform, wooden volumes measuring 6 by
6 by 8 feet to incorporate an entrance, day lighting, natural
ventilation, and a minimum of five sleeping spaces.
The collaboration required at every phase, from design through
construction, is giving students a taste of what the profession of
architecture is like in the real world. Teamwork is a critical
skill for architects, who must work not only with each other, but
with clients, engineers and contractors as well.
Currently, the students are fabricating their projects in the
architecture department's Materials and Methods Workshop on UB's
South Campus. After assembling the structures at Griffis, members
of each group will spend 24 hours living inside the creations.
Occupying the spaces will give students a better understanding
of the successes and shortcomings of their designs. Building and
inhabiting a common structure also helps to instill a sense of
community among freshmen who will be learning and studying together
for three more years.
Ultimately, The Living Wall challenges us all to think about our
notions of privacy and how much space we need to live
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public
university, a flagship institution in the State University of New
York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's
more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through
more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree
programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of
the Association of American Universities.