FBA staffer Courtney Creenan-Chorley has recently completed all the requirements to call herself Courtney Creenan-Chorley, Architect. Most people within the industry are familiar with the requirements to become a licensed architect, but NYS requires the applicant have a professional degree, have completed 5600+ hours in the Intern Development Program within varying areas of the profession, and finally, there are 7(!) Architect Registration Exams to pass.
Courtney has been with Flynn Battaglia Architects for the last four years and was also an intern for several summers during her graduate studies. She is a project coordinator for the Richardson Olmsted Complex Core Project (Hotel Henry and Buffalo Architecture Center) as well as various historic and campus planning projects. She holds Masters Degrees in Architecture and Urban Planning from the University at Buffalo, where she focused on sustainable and inclusive design. Courtney has been involved with the Buffalo Architecture Foundation (BAF) since 2013 and currently serves as BAF President.
In 2013, Courtney and her husband purchased an 1885 house on the west side of Buffalo, and have been working to restore and improve the property ever since. Peeling back the various layers of history of the home, Courtney has salvaged finishes from all eras of domestic interior design. If not incorporated into the design itself, each material has been salvaged and researched. Improvements made include restoring the original windows, refinishing original floors and much needed fresh coats of paint. Not to be outdone by the inside of the house, the garden can be visited on the Buffalo Garden Walk this weekend!
Who is your favorite architect?
I look to several architects for inspiration from various eras and scenarios depending on the situation. Several who inspire me are Rural Studio, O’Donnell + Tuomey, and Studio Gang. All of these groups have strong community development and social agendas that look to complete more than design. Something as simple as a park pavilion can make such a difference in people’s lives. If it is also beautiful, it achieves multiple goals.
Why did you choose architecture?
My middle school offered a great program once a year where we got to pick our own field trip. Imagine organizing what 1,000 preteens wanted to do for a day. In 8th grade, I was stuck with my last choice, a filler selection really. I was not too happy being assigned to the Burchfield Penney Art Gallery, then in Rockwell Hall at Buffalo State College, to see an exhibit of the art glass from the Darwin Martin House and then we were given access inside. This was before any renovation work began, so there were holes in the ceilings from water damage and missing windows boarded up. After seeing the first original drawings in the gallery, my outlook for the day instantly changed and I’ve been climbing through old buildings ever since. Thank you to whatever group of teachers who had to sort through all those field trip choices; it easily solidified my career choice.
What is the biggest challenge you see for the future of architecture in Buffalo?
Continuing, not just maintaining, our architectural legacy. We have this breadth of work that remains from the 19th and early 20th century. One benefit of having a city that was in such economic decline in the mid and late 20th century is we didn’t lose as much urban fabric to new construction as some of our fellow east coast cities. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve lost many buildings but our major portfolio is still relatively intact. Buffalo now has the option to pick up where we left off with recent developments and leave a positive mark on architectural and urban design of early 21st century work. Not every project needs to be a master work but we should expect from ourselves that all work should be executed with care and thought for its surroundings and users.
How has being involved in the architecture community in WNY shaped your view of the profession?
My time with the Buffalo Architecture Foundation has really highlighted how we need to have better representation of the diverse users in our profession in WNY. Those with similar life experiences and mores are at an inherent advantage to provide designs and plans for a client and users. This, paired with a great knowledge depth of how buildings are assembled and how neighborhoods are laid out, will ultimately lead to richer results.
Flynn Battaglia Architects is an architectural firm focusing on design, historic preservation, and planning for higher education, housing and community projects. It has an award-winning portfolio including national historic landmarks, colleges and universities, waterfronts and cultural resources. Based in Buffalo, NY, the firm provides unique solutions delivering innovative, environmentally sensitive and cost conscious design.