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From the Archives : SUNY Buffalo – Allen Hall

Cornelia Hopkins Allen (1896-1979) was an associate professor of Social Work at the university. She supervised many programs between the School of Social Work and the community. After retiring from the University, she became director of social services at Meyer Memorial Hospital (now ECMC) and was involved in community work for Cradle Beach Camp in Angola.

Originally Baird Hall, until that name moved to the North Campus, Allen Hall was built as the music building for a proposed (but never completed) Fine Arts Center. It is now well known to listeners of WBFO, an NPR station. It houses the recording studios as well as a performance hall, the site of Opus Classics and other events. (from

An Occupied Space The building functioned well since it was constructed in the early fifties with very little work done. Flynn Battaglia Architects was hired by the university in 2005 to upgrade the exterior envelope of the building, particularly the large expanses of single glazed curtainwall on the northwest and southeast.

One of the challenges of the project was keeping the campus radio station (WBFO) intact and running while the exterior walls were replaced. The solution involved construction of temporary insulated interior partitions that allowed work to occur on the window wall while allowing access to the center core of the facility.


Creating a Public Face

Creating a welcoming appearance to this facility was a very important goal since WBFO was trying to attract people into the building for live broadcast concerts and the college holds public events in the auditorium.

Since the original use of the building was to house the music program, the patterns of the mullions on the outside were developed reminiscent of musical score, while using the patterns of the existing walls and floor lines as a guide.

The façade is interesting to look at with the reflection of the mature trees surrounding the facility

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