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Michael Hamilton, architect, artist, avid birder; Oct. 22, 1929 -- May 10, 2012

Michael Hamilton, co-founder of Hamilton, Houston and Lownie architects, was a man of varied interests that included not only architecture, but biology, birding and painting, all of which he indulged with passion until his death Thursday at his home in Buffalo. He was 82.

Born in Boston, Mass., he graduated from Princeton University and earned his master's degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Mr. Hamilton began his career in the late 1950s at Shepley Bullfinch architects in Boston and later in Santa Fe, N.M., where he was the first assistant to renowned architect and textile designer Alexander Girard.

In 1966, he became a founding partner in Milstein, Wittek, Davis and Hamilton in Buffalo, an architecture firm that specialized in the design of new buildings and the rehabilitation of existing ones. The firm designed buildings on the University at Buffalo North Campus in Amherst and the Edward A. Rath Erie County Office Building, as well as doing restoration work on the old Erie County Hall.

In 1969, Mr. Hamilton helped launch Hamilton, Houston and Lownie, which designed restoration work on the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Market Arcade.

While he was an architect by trade, Mr. Hamilton was an artist and biologist by avocation. He was an avid birder and member of the Buffalo Ornithological Society. He also was a co-author of several chapters of "Niagara Birds," published in 2010.

He took many canoe trips in Algonquin Provincial Park in Canada and to Alaska. As an artist, Mr. Hamilton explored his love of nature through drawing, woodworking, sculpting, filmmaking and mostly painting.

He taught design studio courses at the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and also devoted his time to Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, a local environmental advocacy group.

Mr. Hamilton is survived by his wife of 20 years, Susan F. Riordan; a daughter, Katrina V.T.; and two sons, Douglas P. and Philip K.

A celebration of Mr. Hamilton's life is planned for 2 p.m. Monday in the Saturn Club, 977 Delaware Ave.