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LifeCycles Exhibit

Erin Grajek

LifeCycles - University at Buffalo School of Architecture exhibit
From March 16 through April 7 the Botanical Gardens will welcome LifeCycles, an Orangery and Demonstration Garden Exhibit.  This exhibit will be a sampling of results from a remarkable collaboration between the Department of Architecture at the University at Buffalo and the Botanical Gardens. Fashionable in 19th century Italy, an Orangery was a building, greenhouse or conservatory where citrus trees were wintered and moved outside in the warmer months to provide an event space to host parties, weddings and celebrations.

Over four months in early 2012, students and faculty collaborated to generate over sixty highly diverse strategies for thinking about the Botanical Gardens today and its potential addition of an Orangery.  Through the hands-on creative process, the Gardens staff and volunteers, UB faculty and students and outside design critics collaborated and a great and rigorous project emerged.  This project explored not only the Orangery but the essence of the Botanical Gardens’ existing buildings, its collections, origins, possibilities today and implications for the future.  The life of the Botanical Gardens, its horticulture collection, staff, volunteers, its influence on visitors and the community were all considered as alive and changing - as having Lifecycles.

This formed the basis for a design studio entitled, LifeCycles.  The studio asked students to consider the growing and evolving roles of time itself in the design process, planning, construction and use of complex, often hybrid programmed buildings such as the Botanical Gardens.  Students’ work dealt with heat and ventilation controls, lighting, spatial organization and movement of visitors.  The studio, taught by professors Jordan Geiger, Coordinator; Brian Carter; Nerea Feliz; Curt Gambetta and Brad Wales, considered how we think about nature and how it translates into our modern buildings.   The buildings’ relation to horticultural sciences, shifting global patterns, migration and climate change were also considered.  The studio concluded that the Botanical Gardens and the surrounding landscape (interior and exterior environments) must be considered a combined architectural-landscape object that needed to compliment and contrast with the existing structure’s simple separation of interior and exterior spaces. At the end of the semester, students, faculty, staff, volunteers, and outside design critics collaborated to choose six diverse designs from the studio to be part of the LifeCycles exhibit at the Botanical Gardens. 

As the Botanical Gardens looks toward a sustainable future, these projects and models are important to promote creative and thoughtful visions for the future.  Visitors will be able to enjoy these creative scale models and consider the possibilities of reinventing the Botanical Gardens’ interior and exterior spaces.

The LifeCycles exhibit is included with admission to the Botanical Gardens.  Admission tickets can be purchased at the door for $9 adults, $8 seniors (55+), $8 students (13+ with ID), $5 kids (3-12), Garden Members and kids under 3 are free!

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