Media Advisory: Grand reopening for Hayes Hall set for 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 23

A 2016 aerial view of Hayes Hall on the University at Buffalo South Campus. Photo: Douglas Levere

Release Date: September 20, 2016

Reclaimed wood sourced from within a 50-mile radius lines the floor of the dean's suite in Hayes Hall. Photo: Douglas Levere

“The renovation of the iconic Hayes Hall balances historic preservation and inspiring design performing to LEED Gold standards.”
Robert G. Shibley, dean, School of Architecture and Planning
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The familiar tones of the Westminster chimes emanating from the clock tower of the University at Buffalo’s Hayes Hall will have a more celebratory ring to them this Friday, Sept. 23. That’s when UB will mark the grand reopening of its most historic and iconic building with a ceremony starting at 10 a.m.

(Media availability info below.)

The $44 million renovation, which began in 2010 and concluded this year, transformed Hayes Hall into a state-of-the-art facility for learning and research in architecture and planning, while respecting the building’s unique history.

Constructed in the 1870s as an insane asylum, Hayes was listed on the National Register of Historic Places this summer, becoming the first building on a UB campus to garner this designation.

“The renovation of the iconic Hayes Hall balances historic preservation and inspiring design performing to LEED Gold standards. We have created an advanced facility for higher learning in architecture and planning and are thrilled to be back in the building we’ve called home for nearly 40 years,” said Robert G. Shibley, dean of UB’s School of Architecture and Planning.

“Today we design and plan in open, day-lit spaces transformed from dark double-loaded corridors and divided floorplans. Exhibit-ready hallways and flexible studios and classrooms support open critiques and informal learning building-wide. As a welcoming gesture to the community, our most striking space — a two-story entryway atrium and gallery — will invite the public inside for events and exhibitions,” added Shibley.

The reopening ceremony will take place from 10 to 11 a.m. on the Hayes Hall lawn. A map and directions, including GPS coordinates, are available at: An open house and tours will follow the ceremony.

Media availability

Robert G. Shibley, dean of UB’s School of Architecture and Planning, student speaker Micaela Barker, and Valerie Christianson, the project’s lead architect, will be available in the Hayes Hall atrium for interviews at 9:30 a.m. For press arrangements on site, contact David Hill in the UB Office of University Communications, 716-238-1001.

About the building

Constructed in the 1870s as the Department of the Insane for the Erie County Almshouse, the building was acquired by the then-private University of Buffalo in 1909. It was renovated for academic use in the 1920s and served as the university’s central administration building until 1962, when UB joined the public SUNY system and became the University at Buffalo. The School of Architecture and Planning, then known as the School of Architecture and Environmental Design, took occupancy in 1977.

Bergmann Associates of Rochester, New York, oversaw the most recent renovation, which combines a complete restoration of the 79,085-square-foot building’s exterior with reimagined interior spaces.

Classrooms and studios have been outfitted with the latest technologies; exhibition-ready hallways have been designed to encourage open critiquing; an airy, two-story atrium features a full-wall digital projection system; and many of the building’s utility systems, such as fire suppression and air circulation systems, are exposed so students can see and understand how these systems work.

The building’s exterior was completely restored with more than 40 blocked or altered windows, a repointing of its limestone block façade, a new slate roof matched to its original and fully rebuilt cupolas.

The project is one part of the UB 2020 plan to restore the collegiate beauty of UB’s South Campus, while creating innovative learning spaces for students.

The school has planned additional events to mark the grand reopening. The full schedule is below.

Events for Friday, Sept. 23

  • 10 to 11 a.m. – Grand reopening ceremony (Hayes Hall lawn)
  • 11 a.m. to noon – Open house and tours
  • 12:30 to 5 p.m. – Symposium (403 Hayes) reflecting the school’s legacy of experimental, community-engaged learning in architecture and planning, featuring UB faculty and guest presenters representing industry and academia institutions from around the country.
  • 5 to 6:30 p.m. – Reception (Hayes Hall Gallery) and exhibit (building-wide): A 150-year history of Hayes Hall and its occupants over the years, plus selected works from UB architecture and planning faculty, students and research centers.
  • 6:30 to 8 p.m. – “Rebuilding Ground Zero” (403 Hayes): Michael Garz, a 1972 UB architecture graduate and senior vice president of STV — a New York City-based construction management, engineering, planning, architectural and environmental services firm — will talk about his role as project architect for the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, a soaring tribute to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Events for Saturday, Sept. 24

  • 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. – Buffalo PechaKucha special edition (403 Hayes): Nick Bruscia, clinical assistant professor of architecture at UB, and PechaKucha Buffalo co-director Joanna Gillespie will emcee as seven stories from the school’s engagement within Buffalo Niagara are told in rapid fire. The PechaKucha presentation format features 20 images shown for 20 seconds each.
  • 10:45 a.m. to noon – Community Conversation (403 Hayes): A facilitated discussion about future role of the School of Architecture and Planning in the Buffalo Niagara region and beyond.

Media Contact Information

David J. Hill
News Content Manager
Public Health, Architecture, Urban and Regional Planning, Sustainability
Tel: 716-645-4651