ASSEMBLY HOUSE 150 is an affiliation of students, educators, building industry tradespeople, artists, designers, architects, artisans, planners, preservationists, historians and others who aim to transform lives and the built environment through the integration of art, design and construction. Our training programs and community projects empower people through creative action.
Dennis Maher, Founder/Director Dennis Maher is an internationally recognized artist, designer and educator. He is the Founding Director of Assembly House 150 and Clinical Assistant Professor at University at Buffalo, Department of Architecture, where he has taught since 2004. His creative work, research and teaching combines the disciplines of art, design and construction with civic engagement and processes of community participation. Maher is a graduate of Cornell University, where he received his professional degree in architecture in 1999. In 2009, Maher established the FARGO HOUSE, an immersive sculptural environment within his own house on Fargo Avenue in Buffalo, a site that has become a center for creative, community engaged learning. Maher’s 3‐story sculptural house transformation for the Mattress Factory Art Museum in Pittsburgh, PA has received over 100,000 visitors since its opening in 2016. Exhibitions of Maher’s work have also been presented at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo), where he was the 2012-2013 Artist-in-Residence, Bi-City Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism (Shenzhen, China), Black and White Gallery and Project Space (Brooklyn, NY), Pulse Miami Art Fair, and Real Art Ways (Hartford, CT). Maher is a recipient of the NYFA Fellowship (2014), the Real Art Ways STEP UP Award (2011), the Black and White Project Space Prize (2010), a NYSCA Independent Projects Grant (2010), and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship (2008). His work has been featured in NYTimes, Sculpture Magazine, Art Monthly, Architectural Review, and ARCHDaily. Maher has realized exhibitions, conducted workshops and delivered presentations throughout the world and is a frequent guest lecturer and critic at Cornell University, College Architecture, Art and Planning.
Quincy Koczka, SACRA Lead Instructor Quincy Koczka received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture from the University at Buffalo, where he studied in the Material Culture research group. His research and creative work engages material assemblies, techniques of historic and contemporary construction, and beginning design and construction education. Since 2017, Koczka has led the basic and advanced skill-building trainings for SACRA participants, coordinating with local specialists to plan and deliver SACRA’s project-based curriculum. He also manages the SACRA woodshop and conducts its basic safety classes. Koczka maintains a studio practice in drawing, woodworking and sculpture and has worked as a restoration contractor for Mark DiVincenzo Studios.
Alexandra Johnston, SACRA Coordinator Alexandra Johnston holds a dual degree in Architecture and Art History from Yale University. Since the SACRA’s inception in 2017, Johnston has developed and maintained relationships with industry employers and has assisted SACRA graduates in securing full-time employment while advocating for living wage jobs. Johnston works with program participants in a direct and highly personalized way to help identify barriers to success, solve problems and make referrals. She endeavors to understand the interests, goals and capabilities of each program participant, in order to identify career opportunities of best fit and schedule interviews with employers. She coordinates visits to Assembly House and other SACRA project sites, maintains contacts with community stakeholders and assists with fundraising and events. Johnston was a founding member of the SACRA Advisory Council and has a strong interest in design thinking and the construction arts.
Kathy Callesto Kathy Callesto teaches in the Department of Architecture Technology at Erie Community College. She is a registered architect in New York State and specializes in beginning design instruction.
Jim Cordes Jim Cordes, woodworking artisan-in-residence at the Roycroft Campus in East Aurora, NY, has been designing and crafting furniture for over 20 years. He is one of the founding members of The Arts & Craftsmen Guild.
Steve Oubre Steve Oubre is the lead carpenter at the Darwin-Martin House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Mr. Oubre is widely regarded as a leading cabinet maker and furniture craftsman in the region.
Daniel Salomon Daniel Salomon received his professional degree in architecture from Cornell University and also studied at the School of Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, ME. Salomon worked as an instructional technician and shop supervisor at Cornell from 2014 - 2016. He is currently conducting research on design/build schools within North America.
Board of Directors
Website Photography courtesy of David Schalliol, Biff Henrich, Ginny Rose-Stewart and Dennis Maher