Community Partnership Award Recognizes 20 Years of Collaboration Between UB's School of Architecture and Planning and Habitat for Humanity

Release Date: October 20, 2010

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The School of Architecture and Planning has received Habitat for Humanity Buffalo's 2010 Award for Community Partnership; its students have constructed 47 Habitat houses since 1991.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning has received the 2010 Award for Community Partnership from Habitat for Humanity Buffalo.

The accolade recognizes the work of architecture and planning students, who have constructed 47 houses in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Buffalo since 1991. That figure represents about a quarter of the total number of houses the nonprofit organization has built in and around Buffalo during the 25 years the organization has been active in the area.

The UB students' efforts are part of a Community Design Service course that the UB School of Architecture and Planning offers each year under the direction of Richard Yencer, manager of the school's Materials and Methods Shop. More than 600 UB students have participated in the program, Yencer said. The most recent class built three houses.

"This program not only provides students with an excellent opportunity to learn about materials and ways of building, but also enables students to work alongside the future owners of the house and use their design skills to improve the quality of life for a significant number of people in the community," said Brian Carter, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning.

During his tenure as dean, Carter has emphasized that good architecture and thoughtful design has the potential to improve the quality of life for everyone. The work by UB students and Habitat exemplifies those principles, helping many local families become homeowners.

The community partnership award, which Habitat for Humanity Buffalo presented at an Oct. 16 celebration marking the organization's 25th anniversary, also honors the work of Yencer, along with the academic leadership of Carter and Mehrdrad Hadighi, chair of the UB Department of Architecture.

Yencer said the summer course helps connect UB students with the community around them, demonstrating that they can make a difference in Buffalo. The construction skills students learn through the program provide a basic understanding of a contractor's job -- a valuable experience for architects who must work closely with builders.

Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built, rehabilitated, repaired or improved more than 350,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1.75 million people. The Buffalo chapter, established in 1985, dedicated its 209th home in the city this year.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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