Design is everywhere—in the color of the walls, in the texture of the carpet, in the quality and intensity of the lighting in a room. It is in the shape of a chair, the size of a table, the grain of wood used in flooring. More than appealing to our senses, design evokes emotions, shaping the way we view the world. Small changes to a space—a little more light, a little less clutter—can lift our spirits, enrich our lives.
This philosophy has infused a series of student-led renovations of public areas within the School of Architecture and Planning in recent years. While multimillion-dollar construction projects at UB make the news regularly, the more modest improvements students have spearheaded are also transfiguring the university. Dean Brian Carter likens their work to acupuncture—“a small intervention with a large impact.” Architecture, Carter says, is not just for the wealthy, but for everyone—for the rich and the poor, the young and the old.
Projects in Hayes Hall, South Campus, where Carter’s school is located, have included the redesign in 2008 of the Architecture and Planning Library, the overhaul in 2007 of a visual resources center and the remodeling in 2006 of a ground-floor lobby into a gallery where posters, books and 3-D architectural models are exhibited. Students planned and carried out the jobs with faculty members’ help, grappling with budgets and building for real clients.