Home Forum Gallery Members Todays Posts

H.H. Richardson Complex Rating: None

New York Attractions / Landmarks / Places > Buffalo Email This Bookmark Print
Formerly known as the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane, the H.H. Richardson Complex (Richardson Olmsted Complex to some) that stands on the grounds of the Buffalo Psychiatric Center was constructed in 1870 through the partnership of two noted architects Henry Hobson Richardson and Frederick Law Olmsted.

The design of the H.H. Richardson Complex was derived from the Kirkbride Plan (created by Thomas Kirkbride, Superintendent of the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane in Philadelphia) which was developed from the philosophy that a person?s physical and social atmosphere could cause and cure mental illness and was used at almost 70 hospitals in 1890. The complex was composed of a central tower building connected by curved two-level corridors to five pavilions or wards on both sides forming a V-shaped arrangement of a total of eleven structures made of Medina red sandstones and bricks. Drives and walks were laid out around the grounds, framing the ?pleasure grounds? or recreational spaces and the gardens.

A 100-acre part of the grounds north of the H.H. Richardson Complex buildings was converted and developed to a farm. The wards sheltered patients with mental illnesses until 1974 (only seven wards were in operation at that time) while the central administration building was occupied as offices until 1994. However, sections of the H.H. Richardson Complex were demolished to make way for newer psychiatric facilities and over time, the buildings on the complex deteriorated because of abandonment.

On the good side, the National Register of Historic Places listed the H.H. Richardson Complex in 1973 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986. Due to this accolade and after a successful lawsuit filed by the Preservation Coalition of Erie County (now known as Preservation Buffalo Niagara) in 2004 and 2005, the State of New York was obliged to restore and rehabilitate the complex. In 2006, with $100 million in funds, New York State?s Governor George Pataki appointed the Richardson Center Corporation to facilitate the restoration of the complex and make it an internationally celebrated architectural masterpiece.
Edit Article

H.H. Richardson Complex Pictures Add Picture

H.H. Richardson Complex Videos Add Video