This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Exhibition of medical school designs
aims to solicit feedback from public

  • Design concepts by four elite architectural firms will be on display in the Central Branch of the Buffalo Public Library. Click on image to see a larger version of the HOK design.

    Design concept produced by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and Cannon Design. Click on the rendering to see a larger image.

    Design concepts produced by Grimshaw and Davis Brody Bond. Click on the rendering to see a larger image.

    Design concept produced by Rafael Vinoly Architects with Foit-Albert Associates. Click on the rendering to see a larger image.

Published: May 24, 2012

The Central Branch of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library will host an exhibition of work by four elite international architectural teams produced for the competition to design the new downtown School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

The exhibition, on the main floor of the library, will run May 25 through June 8; it will be closed on Memorial Day. The library is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays.

The UB medical school will be the largest new building to be constructed in Buffalo in decades and is expected to anchor a world-class medical campus on par with those in Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

The exhibition will help initiate the next phase of the design process, which includes gathering opinions and suggestions on the project from the general public and other stakeholders, including faculty and staff members, students and neighbors.

The design concepts on exhibit will be used to help produce a final design for the new medical school building.

Visitors to the exhibition will be invited to fill out and submit comment forms that will be available on site. The public also is asked to offer comments and suggestions by sending an email to

Input from all sources will inform and guide the development of the final design by the firm that won the competition, HOK, a major global architecture, interiors, engineering, planning and consulting firm known in particular for sustainable and high-performance design.

More information on the design competition, the winning architectural team and what this $375 million construction project will mean to the UB medical school, the city of Buffalo, the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and the residents of this region is available on the UB 2020 website.

“Having the display here at the library offers a very exciting opportunity for the public to participate in the design and planning process of the new medical building,” says Mary Jean Jakubowski, director of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library System.

“Not only does it offer information and access to wonderful changes that are happening right here in our community, but when visitors stand where the displays will be and look out the window, they will be looking right up the medical corridor,” she says. “That, I think, will make it easy for visitors to envision just where the new building will be.”

Each presentation in the exhibition includes floor plans, drawings, elevations, models and other material employed in the design experiments prepared by the four finalist teams: HOK, Grimshaw and Davis Brody Bond, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and Cannon Design, and Rafael Vinoly Architects with Foit-Albert Associates.

Robert Shibley, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning, and head of the committee that selected HOK to design the UB medical school, emphasized that the proposals presented to the selection committee and here, to the general public, are not intended to represent the finished building.

“Instead, we required them to explore architectural possibilities for the building, from how it might meet the ground to the kinds of learning environments and public spaces it could create,” he explains.

The proposals, therefore, present many exciting ways to address a complex and important set of design challenges provoked, in part, by the location of the project at Main Street near Allen Street. Shibley points out that the building will serve as a gateway to downtown and the front door of UB and Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, and has the potential to offer a seamless connection to the surrounding Allentown and Fruit Belt neighborhoods.