Finally, someone in Buffalo who admits the truth about UB's North Campus.
It is encouraging to read that the president of the University at Buffalo wants to expand UB’s enrollment by 10,000 students and create a great university on a par with America’s top state universities.
However, to think that UB can compete with beautiful campuses such as the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Penn State and the University of Wisconsin (Madison) is laughable. The UB North Campus is probably the ugliest campus in North America.
There’s an assumption that it’s too late to change the campus. Who says it’s too late? Insanity is said to be a type of behavior that makes the same mistake over and over again. Reinforcing the terrible mistake of the North Campus is a form of insanity. There is a practical alternative for transforming the North Campus. It should be converted into what it looks and feels like — a maximum-security prison. The existing North Campus is irredeemable. In order to create a great university that attracts students and faculty, we need a new campus. How about a great shining citadel on a lake — in downtown Buffalo?
State University of New York architecture has to rank among some of the worst in the world. Not only at UB but at virtually any campus. My alma mater, SUC Fredonia, is located in a beautiful tree-lined village on a huge plot of semi-rural land, but over its history has become a jarring cacophony of mismatched and ill-designed, user-unfriendly buildings. UB North is much the same but on a much larger scale.
How can this be? The University at Buffalo has well-respected schools of architecture and urban planning. Does the rampant ugliness and inefficiency of its campus reflect the teachings of those colleges? If it does, then Mr. Nowak's suggestion to start anew downtown might be a mistake.