One of Buffalo’s most iconic buildings and a National Historic Landmark, the 140-year-old Richardson Olmsted Complex is being renewed after years of neglect. Designed by one of America's premier architects, Henry Hobson Richardson, in concert with the famed landscape team of Frederic Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the building was completed in the late 1800s as the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane.
It incorporated a system of enlightened treatment of the mentally ill developed by Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride, in part by providing pleasing surroundings. Over the years, as mental health treatment changed and resources were diverted, the buildings and grounds began a slow deterioration. In 2006, the Richardson Center Corporation was formed with a mandate to save the buildings and bring the Complex back to life.
Today, the Richardson Olmsted Complex is being transformed into a vibrant new hub of activity, beginning with a hotel and conference center and architecture center for Buffalo in the three main buildings. When complete, they will play a vital role in Western New York’s growing cultural tourism industry. Buffalo is living and breathing transformation, restoration, and development. The Richardson Olmsted Complex is a key piece of this revival.