Robert Shibley 1970

bachelor of architecture '70

Serves as campus architect

Robert G. Shibley, BArch '70, was elevated to the College of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) in June 2011.

Robert G .Shibley"Fellowship was never a goal in my career but it is one delightful result and a validation of the track I chose to run," Shibley says.

The FAIA honor acknowledges Shibley's architectural work and research over the past four decades, which includes roles with the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Army Office of the Chief of Engineers, the Bruner Foundation, and others. His resume includes publication of 11 books along with numerous journal articles and book chapters.

Shibley is now a professor and dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York (UB). Since joining the faculty in 1982, Shibley has been active in both the architecture and urban and regional planning departments.

He became a senior fellow of the UB Regional Institute in 2005, and assumed the role of interim director of the Urban Design Project in 2011. The project, aligned with UB's architecture and planning programs, has produced nationally award-winning plans for Buffalo's downtown, waterfront, Olmsted parks system, and the city's comprehensive plan.

Olmsted Park
Above: The Olmsted City is a six-park system in Buffalo designed in part by the Urban Design Project, which Shibley serves as interim director. Layout by The Urban Design Project.

"I am most proud of the suite of plans we developed over a decade establishing the formally adopted comprehensive plan framework for the City of Buffalo and of the work done on 'Building UB: The Comprehensive Physical Plan,' " he says. The plan received five awards, most notably from the International Economic Development Council and the Upstate Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Additionally, Shibley served as the UB president's senior advisor for planning and design, and now serves as its first campus architect.

In the 2010-11 academic year, the UB awarded Shibley the President's Medal for service and scholarship, and consequently appointed him dean. The Catholic University of America, where Shibley earned his MArch in urban design, named him a Distinguished Alumni in 2011.

At the UO, Shibley received both a UO and athletic scholarship for track and field. Such support made all the difference during his six-year, dual-degree endeavor, he says (he also received a BS in psychology at UO in 1970). "I was also very fortunate to have a great array of teachers and mentors while at the School of Architecture and Allied Arts," he says.

QCH Perspective
Above: Queen City Hub is a regional plan for Buffalo aligned with the UB's architecture and planning programs. Layout by The Urban Design Project.

"It was also a time of excellent leadership in the Department of Architecture and the School," he added. "They knew how to take advantage of the mix of programs and gave us critical skills to view the profession from both within its boundaries and outside them."

Aside from the FAIA honor, Shibley has earned a number of awards for his innovative work, which is deeply rooted in the relationships between people and their places.

"Throughout my career I have been devoted to building institutions, traditions and programs that advance design and planning through knowledge-based place making," he says.

While the FAIA honor marks a milestone of lifetime achievement, Shibley says he is still, first and foremost, a professor. "My motivation starts with the fact that I love what I do. Teaching and a critical planning/design practice is the best job in the world for me."

Above: Shibley helped direct planning for Buffalo's downtown, shown here in perspective. Layout by Beyer Blinder Bell, Architects PC and The University at Buffalo.

Originally published December 14, 2011