UB Architecture Students' 'Living Wall' Goes Up in Griffis Sculpture Park

Visitors are invited to explore this "community of pods" by climbing all over them

Release Date: April 15, 2010

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The Living Wall is a community of pods comprising 14 full-scale interactive structures. Photo by Nicholas Bruscia.

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Living Wall, a "linear community of pods" comprising 14 full-scale interactive structures created by 100 University at Buffalo architecture students, will be exhibited through Oct. 23 at Griffis Sculpture Park, where visitors climbing on, over and through them will help the students test the functionality of their designs.

The public is invited to attend a dedication ceremony for The Living Wall at the park at 1 p.m. April 25. The event will feature statements by some of the student designers followed by a public reception and preview until 6 p.m. It is free of charge.

Griffis Sculpture Park, on Ahrens Road, off Route 219 in the Town of Ashford Hollow in Chautauqua County, will open for the season on May 1, seven days a week from dawn to dusk until Oct. 31. Admission is $5 (adults), $3 (students and seniors) and free for children under 12.

The Living Wall project was developed and produced this spring by first-year undergraduate students enrolled in studios taught by faculty members in the Department of Architecture, UB School of Architecture and Planning: Shadi Nazarian, clinical associate professor, and Christopher Romano and Nicholas Bruscia, both adjunct assistant professors.

The students were asked to design and construct a minimal-dwelling unit with an entrance, internal circulation and sleeping areas for a minimum of three people out of 2"x 4" lumber and CDX plywood, which is often used in residential construction.

"Individual units were required to share a party wall with adjoining structures," says Romano, "which allows unique spatial, structural and programmatic conditions to emerge."

The modules were constructed on campus, transported to Griffis Sculpture Park and assembled on site, assuming their final positions as a linear "community of pods."

As part of the project, the student designers will spend the next few months visiting the park to see and report on how their pods perform over time as public structure-sculptures.

"The Living Wall is an educational project," says Nazarian, "and regular observation and documentation of the successes and shortcomings of the individual structures will permit the students to better understand the consequences of their design decisions."

The exhibit is supported by LPCiminelli, Norman Georgi Construction Co. Inc. and the Ashford Hollow Foundation. Graduate teaching assistants on The Living Wall project were Albert Chao, Katie Conwell, Joe DiPerna, Josh Gardner, Silvia Lee, Nellie Niespodzinski and Will Ransom.

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