Bold Times: Our Faculty

Designing Better Worlds

Jillian Michael (BA ’17) cheering.

“This is a place of magic,” says Dennis Maher, artist and UB architecture professor, about Assembly House 150, headquartered inside a former church in Buffalo’s Allentown neighborhood. Photo: Douglas Levere


Students in the School of Architecture and Planning are learning from—and rebuilding—the city around them. Whether it’s working with local refugee entrepreneurs, teaching sought-after skills in construction arts and design to the underemployed, or studying food systems, students use the city itself as a laboratory, deeply embedding themselves in the community and the challenges it faces.

“Buffalo holds an important place among the world’s greatest cities for architecture and urban design,” says Dean Robert G. Shibley, widely renowned for his work on planning efforts that today underpin the city’s resurgence. “And its influence—both the tangible and unseen—comes to life in the imaginations of our students, faculty and even alumni who carry the city with them into every corner of the world.”

Dennis Maher, a clinical assistant professor in the School of Architecture and Planning, often involves his UB students in projects at Assembly House 150, an experimental art/architecture space housed in a former church where, among other things, adult students learn employable skills and UB architecture students learn firsthand the art of architectural design.

Maher, whose work has been exhibited worldwide, taps into architecture’s deep history of visionary representation as social and cultural critique, using the lens of painter, sculptor, architect and activist.

Maher’s effort is just one example of the magic that happens when talented and dedicated faculty members combine research strengths with a commitment to teaching: Students are pushed further, discover their strengths and find their passions.

And donors become partners in these extraordinary endeavors when they invest in faculty research, new facilities and programs.

Bold Fact

UB faculty and student work was showcased this year at “Time Space Existence,” a companion exhibition to the Venice Architecture Biennale, the premier global forum for architecture and design. Learn more here. Gifts from alumni, friends and corporate partners helped support these efforts.