The State University of New York at Buffalo recently announced that it has selected HOK Architects to lead the design of a new School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in the City's downtown area. HOK's proposed design for the new building is a sprawling, glass-sheathed structure that aims to achieve LEED Gold certification. Design concepts produced by HOK and three other design firms will be used to develop the final design for the new medical school. The transit-oriented development will be adjacent to a station on Buffalo's only subway line, which runs from downtown to the university's South Campus.
Buffalo, NY was once known for its architectural riches. The Rust Belt city boasts several structures designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan and Daniel Burnham — but most of them were built more than a century ago. As the city’s population shrank with the loss of manufacturing jobs in recent decades, Buffalo hasn’t been known for it’s cutting-edge, green buildings. But that could change with the proposed development of the new medical school on SUNY Buffalo’s downtown campus, which has the potential to spark new development in the community.
The $375-million medical school will be funded in part by NYSUNY 2020, a wide-ranging master plan for New York State’s public university system. In winning the international design contest, HOK beat out several other prominent firms, including Pelli Clarke Pelli/Cannon Design, Grimshaw and Davis Brody Bond, and Rafael Vinoly Architects. In the next stage of the process, design ideas by all four finalists will be exhibited and conversations between the university and community stakeholders will be held over the design of the proposed building. Groundbreaking for the new medical school is scheduled for fall 2013, and construction is expected to be completed in 2016.