Published November 5, 2019
This academic year marks a major milestone for the School of Architecture and Planning, which is celebrating the 50th year of its founding.
The school is engaging current faculty, students and staff, as well as alumni, in a variety of events as the school celebrates its first 50 years with big ideas and bold action for the decades to come.
Over the course of the 2019-20 academic year, the school will document its formative years and evolution over five decades — stories that reveal both an enduring drive behind the program, and the persistence of questions facing the professions of architecture, urban planning and real estate development.
At the same time, the school will look ahead through the eyes of its faculty, students and alumni, whose work challenges the boundaries of knowledge and conventions of practice, positioning them as thought leaders within their respective disciplines.
“This is our invitation to consider the professions of architecture, urban planning and real estate development as creative, innovative and regenerative forces in our world,” says Robert G. Shibley, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning.
Each month, the school’s 50th anniversary blog will focus on a specific issue and how it is being addressed by faculty, students and alumni. October’s topic was climate change, which highlighted the work of architecture alumnus James Hartford, whose practice is dedicated to energy efficiency design, as well as the research the school’s Resilient Buildings Lab conducted on adapting buildings for a changing climate.
“Our aim is to elevate ideas that both inform and challenge current public and professional dialogue, and catalyze partnerships for action,” Shibley says.
The blog also delves into the school’s formative years and the direction put forth by its first dean, John Eberhard, and then-UB President Martin Meyerson, when the school welcomed its first students in 1969-70, a time of social, cultural and political upheaval.
Anniversary events include Counter/Culture, a public lecture series that takes its cue from the 50th celebration and sets up dialogues from a range of disciplinary perspectives on the subject of architectural education and institutional critique.
In October, the series welcomed 2014 graduate Ahmad Zaki Sarferaz, the current mayor of Kabul, who delivered the annual Jammal Lecture in which he spoke about the role of urban planning as Afghanistan’s capital city navigates rapid urbanization and rising citizen demands for services amidst ongoing conflict.
On Nov. 13, the series hosts Harvard professor Peter Galison, who will present “Philosophy of the Shadow,” a talk that will address the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration’s hunt for an objective image of a black hole.
The school will host a culminating anniversary celebration and exhibition of alumni work on April 1. Details will be announced at a later date.