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ROBERT TRAYNHAM COLES

Robert Traynham Coles, Architect, P.C
African American AIA Fellow

SAY IT LOUD - Washington DC  Exhibitor
New York Based Designer 

Bio: 

He started the Community Planning Assistance Center of Western New York a community design center to bring technical assistance to community groups who wanted to develop their neighborhoods but lacked the funds to pay for technical assistance

ROBERT TRAYNHAM COLES

Bio:

Robert Traynham Coles was an architect and advocate for racial equality. A native of Buffalo, Coles graduated from Buffalo Technical High School. From 1947 to 1949, he attended Hampton University, then transferred to the University of Minnesota where he received a Bachelor of Arts in 1951 and a Bachelor of Architecture in 1953. In 1955, he completed a Master of Architecture at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The great architect opened his own firm, Robert Traynham Coles, Architect, P.C. in 1963, which he has managed since that date. It is the oldest African American owned architectural firm in New York State and the Northeast. In 1972, he started the Community Planning Assistance Center of Western New York a community design center to bring technical assistance to community groups who wanted to develop their neighborhoods but lacked the funds to pay for technical assistance. Coles has also served as a Fellow of the AIA on numerous committees and task forces, and is also a member of Alpha Kappa Mu, the National Organization of Minority Architects where he took on many leadership roles. Coles taught as a professor of architecture at the University of Kansas, and later worked as an associate professor of architecture at Carnegie Mellon University. In 1994, he became the first African American chancellor of the American Institute of Architect’s College of Fellows.

Object:

Object Four - Public service, government, industry, or organization

 

Year of Elevation: 

1981

Featured Project Name: 

Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Branch Library

Featured Project Location: 

Buffalo, NY

Featured Project Completion Date: 

1995

Role in Featured Project: 

Lead Designer

Featured Project Description:

Coles designed the Frank E. Merriweather library like an African village, where houses are connected to each other; in the library, each function is housed in a separate, interconnecting room. Use of the library Auditorium is intended for activities conducted or sponsored by the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library and for organizations engaged in educational, cultural, intellectual or charitable activities of interest and/or benefit to the community.

Photography Credit:

Preservation Buffalo Niagara & the Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Branch Library/ Sylvia Cole