Updated - Feb 8th, 2013
The Richardson Olmsted Complex rehabilitation plan advances a mixed use campus of public and private activities for the neighborhood, the city, the region and the world to enjoy.
Please enjoy the video produced by the Richardson Center Corporation and Odessa Pictures - The Richardson Olmsted Complex: Architecture / Landscape / Community provides an overview of the past, present and future of the National Historic Landmark Richardson Olmsted Complex, the former Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane.
Reusing the H.H. Richardson buildings, creating the Buffalo Architecture Center and reviving the Olmsted and Vaux landscape of the original Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane is more than just saving an historic landmark. It will facilitate and spur tourism, particularly architectural tourists who spend a great deal more than the average visitor to the area, thereby generating significant economic spin off to benefit Buffalo’s economy.
Rehabilitating the Richardson buildings, along with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House and Louis Sullivan’s Guaranty Building sets in place the 3-tiered crown of Buffalo’s architectural treasures.
The Richardson Complex and Olmsted grounds are part of Buffalo’s reputation as an architectural powerhouse. The historic former mental hospital was a partnership between noted American architect H. H. Richardson and the father of landscape design Frederick Law Olmsted. It was a state of the art facility when it was built, incorporating the most modern ideas in psychiatric treatment by Dr. Thomas Kirkbride. This Complex, with its signature Gothic towers, stands out as an architectural gem, to locals and admirers from afar. Internationally regarded as a treasure, the buildings and grounds will be rehabilitated as a civic campus for public and private activities.
A mixed use campus will start with a core set of integrated uses - Buffalo Architecture Center, boutique hotel and event/conference space – in the iconic towers administration building and two flanking former wards. Priority activities will direct limited resources to building stabilization and rehabilitation, landscape stabilization and rehabilitation, and improved site parking and circulation. The Richardson Olmsted Complex Master Plan advances a plan for near and long term development of the historic buildings and grounds.
Perhaps most importantly, the creation of an Architecture and Visitor Center is already underway. The Center, located in the towers building, will support and encourage architectural tourism.
The 19th century Richardson Complex is a National Historic Landmark. Its reuse is being powered by $76.5 million in New York State funds that will leverage private development. The board of the Richardson Center Corporation (RCC) was appointed in July, 2006 by then NYS Governor George Pataki.