editor’s essay

What’s in a Building?

Planning our feature package on the new downtown home of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences presented a unique challenge for us. How could we bring a fresh lens to this historic undertaking, one that has been documented and celebrated at every stage since its genesis as an idea a decade ago to its completion this past January?

Including a lot of photos was a no-brainer. It’s one thing to write about a six-story light-filled atrium, active-learning classrooms and state-of-the-art lab spaces. It’s another to see them. The interiors of the new building are stunning, and while those of us who write for the university have talked at length about the casual interactions and collaborations encouraged by the building’s design, the profundity of that design doesn’t really sink in until you see it in action. Everywhere you can possibly stand in the building, the feeling is one of openness, light and transparency, and I think our talented staff photographers, Douglas Levere and Meredith Forrest Kulwicki, conveyed that sense beautifully in these images.


Beyond showcasing the visual impact of the new building, it turns out there was much more to say about it as well. In the end, we had the same challenge we usually have in At Buffalo: more stories to tell than we can fit in our pages. We decided to focus on the less visible aspects of the structure—or, more specifically, on some of the possibilities created by moving the medical school downtown and constructing a new home for it from scratch. For example, the ability to ground a course on health disparities in urban communities in the school’s very own urban community. The ability to combine pathology, anatomical sciences, surgical skills and computational modeling in a way that redefines education for medical students as well as training for physicians and researchers. The ability to look at sustainability from a broad view that includes not only the features of a building but also how people commute to and from it, and how they interact with the community while they’re there.

All of these pieces and more combine to tell the real story of the new home for the Jacobs School. It’s not just a new building. It’s not just a new location. It’s a game-changer—for our students, for our physicians, for our community, for the future of our region, and for all the people around the world who will benefit from the discoveries that take place within those walls.

Laura Silverman's Signature.

Laura Silverman, Editorial Director