If you’ve studied at UB’s Department of Architecture any time in the last thirty years, most likely you worked with Jean La Marche and Beth Tauke. Perhaps you installed architectural wonders at Silo City with Jean or participated in the Architecture + Education Program with Beth. Perhaps you joined them for an impromptu drop in, a design project, or a school-wide celebration at their home in Derby on the cliffs of Lake Erie. La Marche and Tauke’s hands on, in-the-world approach to design education has touched well over six thousand students who are now practicing in Buffalo and throughout the world.
On January 2, 2018, Jean and Beth’s house burned down. Fortunately, they were able to escape. The next day colleagues visited them and asked how they could help. Jean and Beth replied, “We’re okay. If someone wants to help, they could give to student scholarships. Our students need the help more than we do.” As a result, several members of the department started this fund.
Until his retirement in 2015, La Marche taught studios in the upper-level undergraduate program, the 3.5-year Master of Architecture program, and the Material Culture Graduate Research Group, as well as history/theory seminars. A dedicated mentor, La Marche advised well over eighty graduate students in thesis preparation. He encouraged students to study abroad; he himself taught in Aarhus, Antwerp, Barcelona and Berlin.
William Helm, a 2000 alum of the Master of Architecture program, writes, “That first semester Jean led my colleagues and me into the deep waves of architectural theory and practice, giving us the confidence to move forward. He ended that first day of architecture studio with the gift of saying, ‘You are all now architects. Now go do it!’ To say that Jean impacted my life as a mentor does not go far enough. I am so grateful that our paths crossed and am forever touched by his teaching, guidance, and friendship.”
Professor Tauke regularly coordinates the first-year undergraduate architecture studios, leads a university-wide Diversity and Design course with more than 400 students a year, teaches in the Inclusive Design Graduate Research Group, mentors thesis students, and provides informal academic and career counseling to all students who stop by her door.
“Beth is known around the school for her incredible thoughtfulness and devotion to student achievement, but also for taking the time to connect with students on an academic and a personal level,” says Kristen Gabriele, a Master of Architecture student and 2013 graduate of the School of Architecture and Planning’s BS in Architecture program. “For me, that relationship is a huge part of the learning process and part of the many reasons that Beth has made my education experience at UB so wonderful.”
LaMarche and Tauke see the University at Buffalo’s Department of Architecture as one of the best places in the U.S. to study. “UB Architecture is a unique place committed to enriching our world through design. Our students come from all walks of life. We learn from each other and form strong bonds. We work together and build full-scale structures from the first year onward. Our students are among the best out there and are sought after because of their excellent design work. We are honored to be a part of this fund raiser and hope that it helps students committed to socially conscious design.”