SACRA Instructor Quincy Koczka: Long Life, Loose Fit

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Quincy Koczka loved to draw growing up and once considered engineering as a career choice. “Instead of paying attention in a high school engineering class, I remember doodling and realized something was wrong,” he recalls. “After that, I explored art as a major then decided on architecture, a balance of two subjects that fulfill me.”

Quincy now holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture from the University at Buffalo. “I studied material culture in graduate school which focuses on objects, properties, what they’re made of and how materials are central to understanding culture,” says Quincy. “This is also the point when I became more attracted to working with my own hands and general craftsmanship.”

As a SACRA instructor he continues to fall more in love with Buffalo. “Teaching provides a hands-on opportunity to appreciate the culture that has produce our environment. This city has an incredible stock of architecture,” he said describing what was one of the most prosperous areas in the world at the turn of the nineteenth century. “It had some major pitfalls, but I see an amazing window to take part in its rebirth training a new generation of builders.”

Quincy learns much from his emerging carpenters who affectionately describe him as ‘energetic’, ‘optimistic’, ‘knowledgeable’, ‘amazing’, ‘open-minded’ and ‘determined,’ when asked to sum him up in a single word.  “While I teach, I get to listen to their professional interests,” he said.  “I’m also exposed to some of their personal challenges, learning how we can help to support what we’re trying to achieve.”

Quincy enjoys challenging his students to think creatively. “The greatest return is witnessing their growth and new ideas working on very intricate, tedious, small scale models of buildings,” he said. “The detail, what they gravitate to and how far they advance in a short time is amazing. They reveal what they can do when they strive for a little more, it’s inspiring to see that happen.”

Assembly House 150 acknowledges the highly skilled craftspeople from throughout this region who donate the gift of time and talent to the SACRA program. “In partnership, we’ve developed an unconventional curriculum.  Most carpentry programs don’t include history or walking architectural tours,” says Quincy. “We go a little bit beyond providing more than just what it takes to get a job. For example, the 3D mural we’re working for the Northland Corridor Redevelopment Project stretches beyond the nuts and bolts of carpentry, that’s what distinguishes this program.”

Long life, loose fit. A motto in architecture which means trying to get as much from a building as possible. “There’s good chance that anything you build might not serve the same purpose 100 years later,” says Quincy anticipating how Assembly House 150 will always transform. “This change is a teaching tool never set in stone. Time will pass, others will come, nothing is ever in stasis here. We celebrate that.”