State University of New York at Albany - Edward Durell Stone's architecture, atmospheric science, and the geology under it
In the warmer months, a pleasant and distinctive campus
image link to view of Earth Science building Univ at Albany podiumimage link to view of magnolia garden in Univ at Albany podiumimage link to view of Univ at Albany podium colonnade aerial view from the south of the State University of New York at Albany uptown campus, c. 1990
  but....  in winter, the wind
image link to view of Univ at Albany podium north side in snowOne distinctive feature of the Albany campus is the excellent alignment of the long axis of the main structure, the academic podium, with the prevailing WNW wind direction, especially for strong winds in winter. The tunnel-like geometry of the three-story buildings with the uniform overhanging colonnade roof tends to funnel and strengthen the wind near the structures and the straight access roadways adjacent. Since temperatures in Albany in the winter months rarely get much above freezing, the vehicle-free pleasure of walking on the "podium" that Stone intended in his design is at those times rather reduced.
The dunes, moving again after 10,000 years
image link to view of Univ at Albany sand excavation for Life Sciences buildingThe campus is built on sand (no smart biblical allusions, please), a deposit of dunes blown by howling peri-glacial winds across the bare floor of glacial Lake Albany just after it drained, about 10,500 years ago. The source of the sand was the exposed delta of the ancestral Mohawk River near Schenectady. The sands are quite variable in thickness, typically 50 feet or more, with dune heights of up to 50 feet above this, and are underlain by varved clays previously deposited in Lake Albany. As the climate warmed during late deglaciation of North America, the dunes became stabilised by vegetation, with a distinctive pitch pine, fire-mediated pinebarren ecosystem established (known locally as the Albany Pine Bush), before European-derived people began their modifications to the continent.
When the site was cleared for the new University campus in the early 1960's, the sand started moving again and, despite efforts being made to stop the large-scale movement, dust and sand were a persistent nuisance to those who were early occupants of completed buildings before the last of the original buildings was finished in 1968 and the ground revegetated (or paved). A few remnants of original dunes can be seen near the pond on the campus; a few kilometers farther west there are  preserved remnants of the Pinebush, and sections through some dunes can be seen on nearby Interstate-90.
The northwest corner of the uptown campus was not long ago an unmodified dune with mature pinewoods; most regrettably this area was entirely destroyed to build additional dormitory accommodation. Those new dorms also cannot be said to match the architectural distinction of the original campus.

SUNYA architectural pages:
The official university history; construction pictures
Edward Durell Stone website
Look-alike competition winner - the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (another Stone design)