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Shibley receives state architecture education award

Architecture dean Robert Shibley was recognized for reviving "the very idea of planning and urban design in Western New York." Photo: Douglas Levere


Published October 4, 2013

Robert G. Shibley, professor and dean of the Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, has received the American Institute of Architects New York State (AIANYS) 2013 Educator Award.

The prize recognizes notable contributions and accomplishments by an architectural educator in New York State. Shibley accepted the award at the AIANYS annual convention, held recently in Syracuse.

Since joining the School of Architecture and Planning in 1982, Shibley has served as a professor in both the architecture and planning departments, with eight years as chair of architecture (1982-90). He was appointed dean in 2011.

He has been a teacher both inside the classroom and out, engaging generations of UB students in producing award-winning plans that reimagined Buffalo and Western New York. Under his leadership, his team, including students, took part in crafting plans for Buffalo’s downtown, waterfront and Olmsted parks system, along with the city’s visionary comprehensive plan.

Shibley’s efforts “revived the very idea of planning and urban design in Western New York,” the AIA Buffalo/Western New York chapter said in a letter nominating him for the state organization’s Educator Award. “The city-region is now the School of Architecture and Planning’s education and research laboratory, where Bob combines political leadership and robust public engagement with scholarship, planning and design action by faculty, students and staff.”

As founding director of The Urban Design Project in the School of Architecture and Planning, Shibley served as principal investigator on urban design plans for the Larkin District, Niagara Falls and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

Most recently, he led the UB Regional Institute/Urban Design Project team in the creation of the Regional Economic Development Plan, which yielded $100 million in state support for the region in its first year. The team currently is supporting the Regional Economic Development Council in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $1 billion Buffalo development fund.

As senior adviser to the UB president and now as the university’s first campus architect, Shibley has led an ambitious, award-winning comprehensive plan to enhance UB’s three campuses as part of the UB 2020 strategic plan. In this role, Shibley oversaw the design and installation of UB’s Solar Strand, a 3,200-panel, ground-mounted solar array and land-art installation, the largest publicly accessible array in the U.S.

“Creating places for people and assuring our education programs teach people how to do it is what Bob’s career has been about from the beginning,” Frederick Bland, managing partner for New York City’s Beyer Blinder Belle architecture and planning firm, said a letter of support for Shibley’s Educator Award nomination. Beyer Blinder Belle acted in a consulting role on UB’s comprehensive plan.

“He is a seminal leader of his field” and “a visionary leader and spokesperson for a major urban region of our country that is finding a new way to thrive,” Bland wrote.

Shibley holds a master of architecture degree in urban design from The Catholic University of America, and bachelor of architecture and bachelor of science in psychology degrees from the University of Oregon.