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PechaKucha Presentation

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Ang Li

Peter Reyner Banham Fellow, Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, University at Buffalo in Buffalo

"A wall and a column...what they have in common is an interest in looking at the cultural agency of traditional building materials and their ability to speak."

In A Wall and A Column: 2 Projects from PechaKucha Buffalo Vol. 16, architect and University at Buffalo Peter Reyner Banham Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor Ang Li presents a pair of site specific installations that explore the cultural agency of vernacular building materials. Horror Vacui is an installation in Lisbon, Portugal that examines the ability of building facades to “speak” through the medium of the Portuguese “azulejo” - hand-painted ceramic tiles often depicting scenes from historic or civic events. The piece explores the narrative potential of bricks and mortar within contemporary image sharing and crowdsourcing platforms. No Frills is an installation in Buffalo, New York that stems out of an interest in the industrialized production of terracotta in the 19th century as a new kind of ornamental language. In a semi-abandoned Chevrolet Factory by the architect Albert Kahn, a 13-foot column interrupts the existing grid of the assembly floor,  acting as a bridge between the vast scale of obsolete industry and the human scale of the architectural ornament.

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The Beginning of Memory

BY MIGUEL GUITART, PH.D.
@ VOL 14 ON NOV 17, 2015

"The story of Buffalo is inextricably linked to the notion of memory. That memory is now in Danger."

In The Beginning of Memory from PechaKucha Night Buffalo Vol. 14, Spanish architect and academic Miguel Guitart remembers the importance of Buffalo's signature past and visual legacy that has made the city unique, and compels the audience to slow down enough to observe it for themselves, together on a quest to find it's soul once more. In this beautiful poetic performance, he shares a series of ephemeral photos of the city, titled "Americana" with music by Philippe Rombi and excerpts of Laurie Anderson's "The Beginning of Memory", illustrating that despite PechaKucha's fixed format, presentations can take all forms.  

This was "PechaKucha of the Day" on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015. 

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Recreating the Past: Digital Craft

BY ANDREW PRIES
@ VOL 15 ON FEB 04, 2016

"I brought digital technology to a craftsman's workshop."

In Recreating the Past: Digital Craft from PechaKucha Night Buffalo Vol. 15, Andrew Pries, Digital Fabrication Manager at Boston Valley Terra Cotta, explores the emerging technologies his practice is harnessing to restore dilapidated terra cotta facades from the pre-war era. His team's new digital workflow seeks to amalgamate traditional craftsmen skills with modern computation and fabrication techniques. Boston Valley’s recent project, the restoration of the Child’s Restaurant building on Coney Island, is the culmination of their current research endeavors.   

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Foraging and Picking

BY BRIAN CARTER
@ VOL 17 ON SEP 15, 2016

"Architects are hunters and gatherers." 

In "Foraging and Picking" from PechaKucha Night Buffalo Vol. 17, professor of architecture Brian Carter provides a retrospective of twenty postcards from his many travels, highlighting what each image signifies in the mind of an architect. Carter reminds us that architecture can be an international language. It prompts travel, causing us walk into buildings, to meet people, and to listen, sense and smell the places that we go. 

This was "PechaKucha of the Day" on Monday, November 21st, 2016. 

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Building Black Utopias: Modeling the Architectural Principles of African American Literature, 1960-1975

BY CHARLES L. DAVIS, II, PH.D.
@ VOL 17 ON SEP 15, 2016

"We started with several books that looked at the brownstone as a site of intervention."

In Building Black Utopias: Modeling the Architectural Principles of African American Literature, 1960-1975 from PechaKucha Buffalo vol. 17, Charles L. Davis, II, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, shows works from his recent exhibition project, Building Black Utopias, and discusses the literature that served as inspiration. 

The Building Black Utopias project combines the tools of the architect, the historian and the literary critic to recover the historical contributions of African American writers to architectural utopian thought. It specifically examines the role of literary depictions of place in June Jordan, Amiri Baraka, Paule Marshall and Angela Davis’ writings. Davis argues that each authors’ rhetorical manipulations of the built environment operates on the same level as architectural utopian thought insofar as both mediums created rich, alternative depictions of modernist space to liberate the architect’s imagination. The final exhibit translates the spatial ideas of literature into drawings, models and other ephemera.

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Ceramic Assemblies

BY LIMINAL PROJECTS (OMAR KAHN AND LAURA GARÓFALO)
@ VOL 17 ON SEP 15, 2016

"Ask a ceramicist and they will insist that the material lives."

In Ceramic Assemblies from PechaKucha Buffalo vol. 17, Laura Garófalo and Omar Kahn of Liminal Projects discuss their prototypes for ceramic building systems that were developed at the European Ceramics Workcentre (ekwc), in Oisterwijk, the Netherlands. They are designs that explore ways that architecture can mediate heat, water and nature. Ceramics, which are fired clay, are one of the oldest building materials. But they defy easy categorization because their behavior and properties are so diverse. Ceramics were used to build the Roman aqueducts and also used for the heat shield on the Space Shuttle. Ask a ceramicist and they will insist that the material lives. It is this quality that Garófalo and Kahn want to capture and perpetuate in their work.

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Collage City

BY JEAN-MICHEL REED
@ VOL 17 ON SEP 15, 2016

"An architect, it seems, has to be an optimist and idealist. That by building we're somehow making the world a better place. But before you need buildings, you need people."

In Collage City from PechaKucha Buffalo Vol. 17, artist, designer, realtor and retired paramedic, Jean-Michel Reed, shares stories and perceptions of Buffalo, New York as an intimate outsider. Reed moved to Buffalo in 1992, working first as a paramedic, and later transitioning to both a designer and a realtor as the city attempted an about face. Cites are made first of people, and then within those individual people, of experiences. It is this combination of convergent and divergent experiences that construct the sociological makeup of place and city, which, in turn manufactures the physical landscape. 

This was "PechaKucha of the Day" on Wednesday, December 14th, 2016.

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Buffalo Entertainment District Project, 1977-78

BY FRANK PALEN, ESQ., AICP
@ VOL 18 ON SEP 24, 2016

“Think of me as a time traveler. I’m going to take you back to a place called Buffalo in the 1970s.”

In Buffalo Entertainment District Project, 1977-78 from PechaKucha Buffalo Vol. 18, attorney and urban renewal advocate, Frank Palen, recalls the creation of a historic district for theatre and culture from a once abandoned rust belt urban core. From 1977 to 1979, Palen was Research Associate in the Center for Community Research and Development at the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Environmental Design, serving as Coordinator of the Buffalo Entertainment District Project. The University at Buffalo’s graduate studio investigated the potential of promoting a theater district in what was then an increasingly abandoned section of Downtown, despite various setbacks and a challenging political climate. The result was a very high-profile effort that set an agenda for the redevelopment of Buffalo that continues today.

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The Seneca-Salamanca Leasehold Study

BY BRADSHAW HOVEY, PH.D.
@ VOL 18 ON SEP 24, 2016

"They wanted to infuse architecture with research and they proposed to build a pedagogical process around project work."

In The Seneca-Salamanca Leasehold Study from PechaKucha Buffalo Vol. 18, Research Associate Professor 
at the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, Bradshaw Hovey, Ph.D., recounts how one of the great student research projects from the school's 50-year history was devised by the school's founding leadership. One of the very first projects to engage UB students was a paid commission for the Seneca Nation of Indians to advise them on negotiations for a new lease between the nation and the residents of the City of Salamanca, NY whose homes sat on Seneca land. That such a project would be undertaken by architecture students was a signal about how expansively the founders of the school conceived of its professional domain.

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Buffalo Niagara by Design

BY ROBERT G. SHIBLEY
@ VOL 18 ON SEP 24, 2016

"What was I thinking when I came to Buffalo? ... I was coming to join a social movement in our city and region, and I dove in head first."

In Buffalo Niagara Design from PechaKucha Buffalo Vol. 18, Dean and Professor of the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, Robert Shibley, recounts his recruitment to Buffalo as Department Chair, 35 years ago. Upon the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the department, Shibley discusses his work with architecture and planning students, faculty and community members on various urban planning projects in the region. Across an arc of a quarter century, the UB Urban Design Project and the UB Regional Institute have been key players in the evolution of a broad regional planning framework.