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AIA awards prominent member of UB community for Architecture work

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

A prominent member of the University at Buffalo's community is being honored for his work.  The American Institute of Architects has selected Robert Shibley as one of three to receive the 2014 Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture.  Shibley serves as dean of UB's School of Architecture and Planning.  As WBFO'S Eileen Buckley reports, Shibley has led the master planning process that has created Buffalo's Renaissance.

"In so many ways an award like this is not really not about me -- it is about 100,000 people who have made Buffalo a better place to be over 40-years," said Shibley responding to a question about winning the AIA award. 

Shibley has taught, conducted research and practiced architecture.  He is cited for his leadership in design advocacy -- for his more than 40-years of public service. 

WBFO News asked him what it is like to be a part of a major transformation occurring in downtown Buffalo.

"It's such a joy to think of this as team sport. The way this community has embraced its future. And really it's a Tortoise and the Hare story, but it slow and steady wins the race. The levels of cooperation from the Governor, to three mayoral administrations and the rise of our community based organizations. It's just a joy to watch it happen and be a part of it," said Shibley. "It takes a long time to recover from the kind of structurally economy failure that we experienced.  Just pounding very hard at the issue, making it better and better.”

Shibley said he's not a believer in a tipping point that brought on change for Buffalo because it doesn't tell the truth about what it took to reach the new successes.  He is still deeply concerned with "inequities" that continue to exist in the community including those  difficulties citizens face in Buffalo's inner-city neighborhoods.  But Shibley noted that in the past 44-months this region has experienced job growth and progress probably not experienced since World War II.