UB Gives Buffalo Global Billing at Venice Exhibition – UB Now: News and Insights for UB Faculty and Staff
By DAVID J. HILL
The School of Architecture and Planning is once again bringing Buffalo’s urban design to the world stage. After launching a documentary film about the city at the Time Space Existence 2018 exhibition in Venice, Italy, the school returns to the international architecture event this month to showcase the world-class park emerging on the Buffalo waterfront.
Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park – a public-private initiative to transform former LaSalle Park into an enchanting landscape on the eastern tip of Lake Erie – is one of the city’s most prominent development projects for decades.
The Venice School of Architecture and Planning exhibition will focus on the multi-year civic planning process that shapes the design of the park. Since 2018, the school and its research center at the UB Regional Institute have mobilized more than 2,000 citizen voices in “Imagine LaSalle”, a community vision process aimed at steering the future of the park with a large and significant participation. public.
“Buffalo Constructing Buffalo: From Olmsted to Van Valkenburgh” opened on May 22 at Palazzo Mora in Venice. The international Time Space Existence exhibition is organized by the European Cultural Center and organized in conjunction with the Venice Architecture Biennale, the largest architectural exhibition in the world. Time Space Existence runs through November.
The redevelopment of the park is the result of a historic donation to the city by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, in partnership with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, a New York-based landscape architecture firm, led the design of the park.
The exhibit interprets the civic planning process behind the park, the foundation of the city plans that informed it, and the best practice research that inspired it. This process was guided by the faculty and students of the School of Architecture and Planning, whose engagement with the city dates back to the school’s founding in 1969.
“The vision of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation has always been to make this park a great park, not only in its design but also in its authenticity as a people’s park,” says the Dean of the School. Architecture and Planning Robert G. Shibley, who led the Imagine LaSalle effort with the UB Regional Institute and played a key role in shaping much of the city’s planning framework.
“Buffalo will stand out for this park because every design gesture, landscape element and programming decision began with the aspirations of our community,” adds Shibley, curator of the exhibition in Venice. “It’s a process that has evolved over decades in line with a city that elevates design to serve the public. This is the next chapter in a decades-long ‘Buffalo Building Buffalo’ tale. “
Imagine that LaSalle was an intensive and ambitious civic effort. For more than two years, a team from the UB Regional Institute organized community workshops, conducted survey research in seven languages and organized design carts with young people. He visited a neighborhood ambassador focus group in 21 of the country’s top city parks.
This chorus of voices was then synthesized into a community vision report outlining the basic design principles of the park, from technical (be smart about parking) to cultural (strengthening neighborhood ties) to aesthetics. (create a “big lawn” for recreation and events). The report served as a driving force for the project, directly informing MVVA’s conceptual designs for the park.
Distinctive features of the park include a berm to block out noise from I-190, a welcoming new bridge leading to the neighborhood across the freeway, a hill and sled meadow, invigorated flora including 2,500 new trees, new ways to meet water, a magical new children’s play area and connections to surrounding parks and trails.
The representations of the park’s design in the exhibit are a snapshot of the process at different times. Designs are subject to further improvement as the project operates through regulatory review. Construction is expected to start in 2022.
“The park has long served as a gathering place for Buffalonians from all walks of life. As a civic process, Imagine LaSalle intended to bring together the diverse base of park users and nearby residents so that the transformation of the park would be shaped by the community’s vision of what a waterfront park could be. world class, ”says Bart Roberts, partner. Director of the UB Regional Institute and Imagine LaSalle project manager.
The history of the park – and “Buffalo Constructing Buffalo” – is presented in the Venice exhibit as a series of illustrated “storyboards” created by Buffalo visual artist Ariel Aberg-Riger.
“As a visual storyteller, I use both text and found images and historical artifacts to bring stories to life,” says Aberg-Riger, whose graphic stories have covered topics ranging from housing affordable to domestic violence and have been exhibited and published around the world. “My approach is to slow down readers so that they can really immerse themselves in the story and wander into the past. Buffalo is a beautiful city and exploring the history and legacy of its parks and greenways was fascinating, ”she says.
Julia Jamrozik, assistant professor of architecture at UB, designed the exhibition in collaboration with architecture students Aberg-Riger and UB Lukas Fetzko, Stanicka Mathurin, Rutuja Shinde and Christopher Sweeney. “The idea behind the exhibition design is to try to show the complexity of the story while facilitating a cohesive yet memorable visitor experience,” says Jamrozik.
“The exhibition is daring but at the same time accessible.”
Twenty-one illustrated panels, each measuring 6 feet in height, surround the exhibition space of a room in the historic Palazzo Mora. A video on Imagine LaSalle produced by John Paget’s First + Main Films will also be screened as part of the exhibition. UB students have designed a special table in the center of the room, which will allow exhibitors to delve into the planning reports, technical drawings and studies associated with Imagine LaSalle. Copies of the city’s comprehensive planning framework reveal the collective vision for Buffalo’s future.
“We have worked very hard to make Ariel’s narrative voice a strong presence in the room and, at the same time, to create an identity that will draw people to our story and make them want to stay and learn more. and dig deeper, ”says Jamrozik.
Aberg-Riger’s visual narrative, as well as documentation for the exhibition, is available on the School of Architecture and Planning website.