True Green Cities/Celebrating Seven Years – The APT 50th Anniversary Conference

Celebrating Seven Years – The APT Buffalo Niagara 2018 Conference


The Buffalo Central Terminal, location of several events during the APT Conference. Photo courtesy Joe Cascio.

It’s been seven years since I launched Barbara A. Campagna/Architecture + Planning, PLLC and while many things have changed, my goal to work on “greening what’s already here” continues to be met, often in places I never expected.  Many people are finding new ways to integrate historic preservation and green building practices, which makes my new venture a delightful and intellectually inspiring one.  This is blog one of my anniversary week.

Celebrating APT’s 50th Anniversary, September 22-27, 2018

The Association for Preservation Technology International (APT) has been one of the most important parts of my adult life.  Like many preservation colleagues, my professors in graduate school assigned articles from the APT Bulletin and indeed many of my professors had written those articles.  I have been involved in APT’s leadership since I graduated from school, first as a Board Member and then President of the APT NY chapter (now APTNE), then board member, Vice President, President, Past President of APT.  Since 2011 I have been working with a terrific local committee to plan and bring the 50th Anniversary APT conference to Buffalo Niagara!

Points of Departure

Asbury Hall in Babeville, an adapted church in downtown Buffalo. Location of the APT 2018 Opening Keynote.

Why Buffalo and Niagara? Buffalo was the 6th largest port in the world in 1906.  By 1951, it was the 11th largest industrial center in the country, the largest inland water port, the 2nd largest railroad center, and the 15th largest city in the country.  It was literally and physically one of the most important points of departure on the continent.  As APT looks forward to our “Next 50” we find ourselves at our own significant “point of departure.”  One of our founders, Peter John Stokes, was from Niagara-on-the-Lake across the Niagara River from Buffalo, making Buffalo and Niagara the perfect location to celebrate this joint international heritage.

As we get closer to our big 50th anniversary celebration in September, we are finalizing our program content and think everyone will be excited to hear what we have planned.  The website is live and registration goes live in early May.  We anticipate that many of these sessions will sell out early.


The Conference Themes


This year attendees will find several themes running through the program content of the conference – from the Workshops to the Opening Keynote to the Educational Sessions to the Closing Symposium. You will hear about Points of Departure, The Next 50 and Resilience throughout the conference.  The theme for our Opening Keynote Session is “Resilience,” a topic that our organization sees as one of the most important themes for preservationists moving forward.  Buffalo’s historic infrastructure provides a much- needed base for developing cities and places who need to be resilient* to the increasing storms and weather systems that are impacting everyone.

*Defining Resilience:  Resilience is the capacity to adapt to changing conditions and to maintain or regain functionality and vitality in the face of stress or disturbance.  It is the capacity to bounce back after a disturbance or interruption. From Katrina to Sandy, California drought to Mississippi flooding. Resilience is both response and action.


Opening Keynote Speaker:  ALEX WILSON, President, Resilient Design Institute in Vermont

Sunday, September 23rd , 2018 5-6:30PM

Alex Wilson, Founder and President of the Resilient Design Institute will be the APT 2018 Opening Keynote.

We are thrilled to announce our Keynote speaker for the official opening of the conference!  Alex Wilson is the founder of BuildingGreen, Inc. in Brattleboro, Vermont, an 18-person company that has served the design and construction industry with non-biased information on environmentally responsible design and construction since 1985. He is the author of Your Green Home (2006), and co-author of Green Development: Integrating Ecology and Real Estate (1998), and the Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings (1990, 9th edition, 2007). He has also co-authored a series of four guidebooks on quiet-water canoeing and kayaking for the Appalachian Mountain Club.  He is the founder and president of the Resilient Design Institute, which works with partners across the world to create solutions that enable buildings and communities to survive and thrive in the face of climate change, natural disasters and other disruptions.  Alex is one of the leading luminaries in the world of sustainability and resilience.


The Opening Session is being held at Asbury Hall in historic Babeville, an adapted church filled with green features such as geothermal heating.  The Plenary will be live streamed to our chapters around the world.  We expect standing room only, with 750 attendees.  The plenary will welcome attendees to Buffalo Niagara and to our 50th Anniversary Celebration.  Since we are celebrating 50 years of accomplishments and looking forward to another 50 years, we will celebrate our organization’s heritage and Buffalo Niagara’s heritage – the reason we chose this location for our significant anniversary.  We will specifically celebrate the heritage of Buffalo’s Olmsted Park & Parkway System in its 150th anniversary and look forward to congratulating Buffalo leaders from the City and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.

Workshops – Saturday and Sunday, September 22nd & 23rd , 2018

The Non-Destructive Evaluation Workshop at the APT 2018 Conference will be held at Willowbank on Day One.

Come early and spend the weekend at one of three workshops for up to 50 participants each:

  • Terra Cotta Restoration – held at Boston Valley Terra Cotta and downtown. A complementary Terra Cotta walking tour of downtown Buffalo’s amazing collection of terra cotta buildings and terra cotta restorations will be available as a guided field session or a self-guided walking tour.
  • Window Restoration – held at several historic sites in Buffalo, and a local window restoration studio.
  • Non-Destructive Evaluation – held at the Willowbank School in Canada and the Central Terminal (railroad terminal), just named to the 2018 World Monuments

    Field sessions and workshops will travel to Buffalo’s National Historic Landmarks such as St. Paul’s Cathedral and Louis Sullivan’s Guaranty Building.


Educational Paper Sessions, Monday, September 24th – Wednesday, September 26th

Panels and sessions will be held in the Hyatt and Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.  Over 70 speakers will present original preservation research, chosen by the conference committee through the “Call for Abstracts.” We received 200 professional submissions and 25 student submissions. APT brings up to 15 students to the conference to participate for free every year.  Also, look for special “theme” plenaries this year to celebrate our 50th!

Field Sessions & Tours – Sunday, September 23rd and Tuesday afternoon, September 25th, 2018

There will be up to 20 site visits around Buffalo Niagara that include local neighborhoods to iconic landmark masterpieces – a Beer Oriented Development session, cruises on the Buffalo River to admire our concrete grain elevators, medina sandstone at the Richardson Olmsted Campus and many churches around town, downtown loft conversions, art glass and geothermal heating at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House, a Resilience Charrette at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Graycliff on Lake Erie,  to name a few.

Canada Day – Wednesday, September 26th, 2018 12:30-10PM

Don’t miss the daylong festivities to celebrate our 50th Anniversary and American Canadian heritage, with stops at Niagara Falls, Willowbank, Niagara-on-the-Lake and an anniversary party at Jackson Triggs Winery.

The Next Fifty Symposium – Thursday, September 27th, 2018

A day-long closing symposium held in the auditorium in the downtown Central Library will celebrate the advances of preservation technology and the impact APT has had on the world preservation stage. This closing session will frame the intellectual and technological themes that our thought leaders envision will move APT forward. We hope many of you will stay this last day for a hearty discussion about preservation’s past and future. Like the “Setting the Agenda” lunches of a decade ago, where our members steered our direction – you can participate in steering APT’s philosophical direction for the next fifty!

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© Copyright Barbara Campagna – True Green Cities - 2011-2013