Expert Forum written by: John F. Doster, AIA NCARB DBIA, Managing Principal at Architectural Resources
When John Doster graduated from the University at Buffalo School of Architecture in 1985, he figured he would leave the Buffalo area to pursue his career. The city was in decline, new development was practically non-existent and the job market was tight to say the least. Fortunately for Doster – and ultimately, the Western New York community – he was offered a position with a local architectural firm and it has been all about Buffalo ever since.
Today Doster is vice president and managing principal for Architectural Resources, a firm he joined in 1999 and one that is among the largest architectural practices in the City of Buffalo. With 37 employees, including 12 licensed architects, Architectural Resources is the firm behind notable designs and structures throughout the area including the Math and Science Building at Nichols School; the Stokes Seed Company Building at 700 Main; and the master plan at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus to name just a few.
A distinct perspective.
Having spent his entire 35+ year career in Buffalo, Doster has seen it all in the rust-belt city, from the economic bottoming out of the 1980s to the current resurgence underway that is gaining recognition across the country and around the world. His experience has given Doster a distinct perspective on where the city has been, what we should be doing now, and how we should be planning for the future.
“Buffalo is such a unique place and the exciting things happening now are for real – there is no going back,” he explains. “The questions become, where do we go from here, how do we integrate new technologies and materials that did not even exist 20 years ago, and what are the best ways to continue building a better Buffalo?”
Focus on the future.
Doster believes the answers lie in the collaboration among city leadership, civic organizations and private companies that have enabled projects such as the Medical Campus to prosper. He notes that the preservation and restoration of significant historical structures has been a great success as they honor the city’s past. Now the focus should turn to the next generation of design and building, taking advantage of the beautiful contrast of old and new, while planning for the future of the city.
“What we build in the next decades should be a total reflection of who we are in Buffalo, driven by strategies that take into account our environment, energy usage and our advantageous location on the Great Lakes,” Doster says. “The time to innovate is now so that in the years to come people can look back and say we have made spectacular things happen in Buffalo.”
Doster refers back to the Medical Campus as something of a model of what he is talking about. Located in the center of a historical area of the city, the campus features the most modern of buildings maximizing the use of new technologies in a well-planned environment. The collaboration among the city, hospitals and health care organizations, and the University at Buffalo Medical School was unprecedented and the willingness to work together made it all possible.
“There is nothing arbitrary in the design of the campus as everything is connected in some way,” Doster concludes. “That is how we will create more win-win situations in the future as we continue working together to define what Buffalo will look like.”
To Learn More about Architectural Resources and their work in the Buffalo region, click here.
Disclaimer: The above commentary entails the views of the author and not necessarily the views of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.