Published October 11, 2012
Once the exclusive purview of private clients and the fabulously wealthy, architectural patronage is changing as architects increasingly cultivate partnerships with nonprofits, community organizations and other public entities.
These new forms of sponsorship have prompted innovative models of practice that not only have opened up new areas of design, but engaged and empowered diverse and underserved populations.
To better understand this trend and its implications for design, research and practice, the School of Architecture and Planning has invited eight internationally distinguished architects, scholars and designers to present “Beyond Patronage: Reconsidering Models of Practice,” the 2012 Martell Symposium.
All events will be free and open to the public, but those who wish to attend are asked to RSVP to the symposium website . The site lists the full schedule of events and speaker biographies.
The symposium will open Oct. 16 with a panel, “Student as Instigator,” at 5:30 p.m. in the Greatbatch Pavilion, 125 Jewett Parkway, Buffalo, on the site of the Darwin Martin House. It will feature guest speakers and UB architecture students in a discussion about the role of emerging young designers in a shifting landscape for practice.
The schedule on Oct. 17 will begin at 9 a.m. in Harriman Hall, South Campus. Events will include a series of panels organized around the emerging roles of the architect—as an advocate actively engaging new client bases, as a detective uncovering hidden conditions and spaces, and as an initiator forging entrepreneurial and innovative business models for architectural practice.
A catered reception will follow at 7:30 p.m. in Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo.
“‘Beyond Patronage’ is an example of our school’s longstanding sponsorship of public events that push the boundaries of thinking, scholarship and practice in our disciplines,” says Robert G. Shibley, professor and dean of the School of Architecture and Planning. Shibley points out that this is just one of a series of public lectures and exhibits sponsored by the school throughout the semester.
Adds Joyce Hwang, assistant professor of architecture and one of the organizers of the event: “Driven in part by the instability of the conventional model of practice in poor economic times and rapidly changing political, social and ecological climates, architects and designers have begun to reinvent models of practice and confront the priorities of architecture.
“Beyond Patronage brings to Buffalo some of the most innovative thinkers and practitioners in the field to discuss how their work informs these evolving notions of architectural patronage,” Hwang says.
Featured speakers will include:
Events on Oct. 17 include a breakout session on pro bono work organized by the Buffalo Architecture Foundation, which will feature local practitioners from various practice frameworks. They are Courtney Creenan (MArch/MUP ’12), one of the UB student designers of “Elevator B,” an architectural beehive habitat at Silo City in Buffalo’s industrial corridor; Joy Kuebler, director of a small landscape architecture firm in Buffalo; and Kathy Callesto (MArch ’08), who heads the Cannon Design partnership with Habitat for Humanity Buffalo.
“The issue of exclusion and inclusion in the field and a shifting dynamic of power between architects and the communities they serve will be a central theme of the symposium,” says Martha Bohm, assistant professor of architecture and a co-organizer of the symposium.
“Women and minorities continue to be underrepresented in traditional architectural practice, while architectural services remain out of reach for many,” she adds. “Yet, these new forms of patronage also empower historically excluded populations.”
Bohm and Hwang are both part of the Ecological Practices Graduate Research Group in the Department of Architecture, a group that supports a more sustainable world through ecologically literate architectural practice and design shaped and limited by natural systems.
Notes Omar Khan, associate professor and chair of the Department of Architecture: “The 2012 Martell Symposium will vastly enrich our school’s pedagogical and academic experience, with faculty and students closely involved in every aspect—from programming the event to participating in the panels to producing related scholarship.”
Symposium organization was facilitated by Shannon Phillips, assistant dean for graduate education in the School of Architecture and Planning, where she heads diversity initiatives, and Gabrielle Printz, a graduate architecture student.
Additional support for the symposium is being provided by UB’s Gender Institute, which is featuring the event as part of Gender Week 2012. Symposium organization was facilitated by Shannon Phillips, assistant dean for graduate education in the School of Architecture and Planning, where she heads diversity initiatives, and Gabrielle Printz, a graduate architecture student at UB.