SAH News



Looking Forward to the Buffalo Conference

by Ken Breisch | Oct 16, 2012
As we begin to plan for the 2013 SAH Annual Conference in Buffalo, I would like to share what makes Buffalo a great destination for SAH as well as what we have to look forward to in the conference schedule.

The annual conference will convene in April 2013 on the eastern shore of Lake Erie in Buffalo, New York, a city that owes its initial prosperity to the completion of the western extension of the Erie Canal in 1825. By 1900, Buffalo was the eighth largest city in the United States and its economic prosperity contributed to the creation of a rich and varied architectural landscape. It is home to iconic buildings such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House and Adler and Sullivan’s Guaranty Building, as well as the remarkable assemblage grain elevators celebrated by Reyner Banham in his book, A Concrete Atlantis. Even still, new icons are emerging, such as the 2009 Eleanor & Wilson Greatbatch Pavilion Visitor Center at the Martin House designed by Toshiko Mori.

Masterpieces such as these, as well as others by Henry Hobson Richardson and Eliel and Eero Saarinen, will be included in the outstanding collection of tours organized by the local conference planning committee for our edification and pleasure. These architectural gems are set within the framework of Joseph Ellicott’s 1804 radial street plan, which beginning in 1868 was overlaid with a grand system of parks and parkways by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. Nearby are the wonders of Niagara Falls and the Arts and Crafts community of Roycroft in East Aurora, New York.

The conference will kick-off on Wednesday with the SAH Buffalo Seminar (formerly the Historic Preservation Seminar), which will celebrate the myriad institutions and organizations that are working not only to save Buffalo’s rich architectural and cultural landscape heritage, but also to revitalize and green its neighborhoods. Thursday morning witnesses the commencement of thirty-six paper sessions, which over the next two and half days will focus on the architecture of Buffalo, as well as the Middle Ages in Europe, Greek and Roman antiquity, and the impact of the modern movement on every continent on which our membership now resides. Speakers will also share with us—among other areas of inquiry—their work in the history of urban planning, landscape and furniture design, industrialization, colonialism, professionalization, and science. This year we are grateful to be able to award more than twenty-five travel fellowships to annual conference speakers, who will be joining us from sixteen countries.

Thursday evening, our awards ceremony and plenary session will take place in Buffalo’s magnificent Art Deco City Hall. Pulitzer Prize winning author and contributing editor at Vanity Fair magazine, Paul Goldberger will offer the plenary address in the Common Council Chambers on the twelfth floor. In addition, Friday night will feature a fast-paced SAH PechaKucha and Saturday night will focus on a Frank Lloyd Wright Seminar, organized by the Buell Center and celebrating the donation of the Frank Lloyd Wright Archive to MoMA and Columbia University.

While our expanding Internet connectivity is providing SAH with a worldwide presence, it cannot replace the pleasure of sharing architectural exploration, stories, and drinks with old friends and new colleagues. We look forward to seeing all of you in Buffalo in April!

Ken Breisch
General Chair, 66th Annual Conference
First Vice President
Society of Architectural Historians