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Lipsey, McDonnell win state architecture awards

It’s only fitting that Stanford Lipsey, former longtime publisher of The Buffalo News, receive the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Award from the New York State chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

After all, during his 29 years as News publisher, Lipsey made a habit of picking up the phone to call U.S. senators such as Moynihan and New York governors, often to lobby for his pet architectural projects in Western New York.

Lipsey, who stepped aside to become publisher emeritus of The News on Jan. 1, 2013, was chosen for what the American Institute of Architects called a decades-long commitment to “the preservation of architectural jewels in the Buffalo area.”

He received the award, in absentia, Monday evening at the institute’s Excelsior Awards presentation in Albany.

Also honored was Paul McDonnell of Buffalo, an institute member, who was chosen for the Nelson Rockefeller Award for licensed architects working in the public sector.

McDonnell, as facilities director for the Buffalo Public Schools, has led the district’s $1.4 billion Joint School Reconstruction Program. He also co-founded a grass-roots organization, Campaign for Greater Buffalo, and is chairman of the Buffalo Preservation Board.

Lipsey, in a brief phone interview from his California home earlier Monday, expressed appreciation for his award, saying he would accept it on behalf of others who have worked so hard to preserve Buffalo’s architectural gems and build new ones.

“When I first came to Buffalo, I recognized immediately the magnificence of its period architecture,” Lipsey said. “So it became one of the primary, if not the primary, non-News tasks that I addressed. … And I’m still immersed in it in a big way.”

He has been praised universally for using his voice and influence to lobby hard for first-rate architecture in Buffalo.

At various times, The News and Lipsey were instrumental in pushing for architecturally pleasing new buildings or additions at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and what would become First Niagara Center.

He also played a key role in resurrecting the Darwin Martin House and the H.H. Richardson Complex near SUNY Buffalo State.

Officials at the American Institute of Architects said the Moynihan Award recognizes public officials or individuals who have furthered the public’s awareness and appreciation of design excellence in public architecture.

That description seems a perfect fit for Lipsey’s many accomplishments.

“He’s a civic leader, and that is so important,” said Georgi Bailey, executive director of the institute’s New York chapter. “That’s one of the main tenets of this award – his contributions to the built environment that have had an impact across the state.”

Among other preservation and architecture honors, Lipsey was given the Spirit of Wright Award in 1997 by the Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy and the New York State Governor’s Preservation Award by then-Gov. George E. Pataki the following year.