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PechaKucha Presentation

"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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Bikes Tackling Environmental, Social & Economic Challenges

BY ANNE BEDOS
@ VOL 8 ON JUL 22, 2015

Anne Bedos is the founder and manager of Rothar. Rothar uses bikes to tackle environmental, social & economic challenges in Dublin. It creates local solutions to global issues through the promotion of sustainable urban transport with cycling. The creation of employment and training opportunities for marginalised individuals is central to the enterprise.

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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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20 Months

BY ANTONINA SIMETI
@ VOL 15 ON FEB 04, 2016

"As newcomers in a city we should step back, clear our minds and look for clues. What do we see? What can't we see?"

In 20 Months from PechaKucha Night Buffalo Vol. 15, urbanist Antonina Simeti reads excerpts from her diary of experiences and perspectives drawn from the past 20 months living in Amsterdam, Berlin and Buffalo. Through everyday observations of the physical realm, Antonina tries to uncover and understand how cultural, political and economic values and systems are expressed in our cities. 

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The Belt Line: Hiding in Plain Sight

BY CHRIS HAWLEY
@ VOL 16 ON APR 14, 2016

"The Belt Line … will be the next phase in Buffalo’s sustainable development."

In The Belt Line: Hiding in Plain Sight from PechaKucha Night Buffalo Vol. 16, urbanist and preservationist, Chris Hawley, presents the Belt Line -- one of the most conspicuous and least-known features of Buffalo, NY. Each day, trains go by along it and people drive underneath and over it. It is the "third strand" in Buffalo's DNA, as important to the city's physical and economic geography as Joseph Ellicott's radial and grid plan and Frederick Law Olmsted's park and parkway system; as consequential to the city's development as the Erie Canal and Interstate Highway System.

The Belt Line was opened in 1883, with segments dating back to 1836. The rail line is 15 miles long, forming a continuous loop through Buffaloʼs downtown as well as the prominent industrial loft clusters that it helped to create. Today, the Belt Line's 12 million square feet of largely vacant or underutilized industrial space is the city's next frontier for sustainable development. Factory buildings are being recycled as mixed-use developments. These former industrial areas are becoming walkable centers again.

This was "PechaKucha of the Day" on Tuesday, July 27th, 2016. 

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A Wall and A Column: 2 Projects

BY ANG LI
@ VOL 16 ON APR 14, 2016

"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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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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Rethinking Resettlement

BY ERKIN ÖZAY
@ VOL 18 ON SEP 24, 2016

"How can we make our endeavors clear and approachable enough that we can actually contribute to the public debate at a very high level?"

In Rethinking Resettlement from PechaKucha Buffalo Vol. 18, Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University at Buffalo, Erkin Özay, reviews some of the social and design issues involved in rehousing and supporting Buffalo, New York's new Americans. Özay's Spring 2016 UB graduate studio explored the potential for temporary and long-term housing for newly arrived refugees and immigrants, as well as the role of supporting institutions, community assets, and reimagining the existing housing stock. Özay's project investigates "compassionate urbanism." He is interested in how groups of limited means--new and existing residents--support each other through careful intersections. 

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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.

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Incremental Development and the Future of the City

BY RYAN TERRY
@ VOL 11 ON JUN 06, 2017

So much of the real estate industry is extractive, where far-away investors mine the value from properties that line our streets. We are working toward a more generative real estate model, where local people can invest in their own neighborhoods and in that process, create new life and value that benefits their community. The kind of places we want to live in are built and maintained by people who really love them.

 

However, even beloved and successful places are at risk. We all know stories of boom and bust. Buildings, neighborhoods, cities are all put under great stress in times of fast economic change, whether growth or decline. At the local level, the best way we know to protect against the negative impacts of both growth and decline is this: spread the risk and the reward. We need more neighborhood-based small developers creating buildings that can adapt in times of trouble.

 

Scale makes all the difference. The small-scale developer is limited by their size to a certain scope of project. They don’t have the team or the resources for mega-developments; they need to stick with small, simple buildings in a fairly concentrated area so they can easily keep an eye on things. Instead of large apartment blocks or a subdivision of single-family homes, small developers are more likely to build duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, live-work buildings, backyard cottages etc.—perfect for adapting neighborhoods on a lot-by-lot basis.These buildings are too small for a conventional developer whose profits depend on an economy of scale. Small developers depend on economies of resourcefulness and relationships, and that economic model is what makes small developers so adaptable in times of trouble.

 

This country is covered with inspiring precedents of buildings that punch above their weight, giving back to the city through taxes, to the neighborhood through street appeal, and to the owner through a positive cash flow. Across the country, communities are realizing that big developers cannot be induced to come build the neighborhoods they want. No one is coming to save them from the status quo. They’ve got to do it themselves.