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Richardson Olmsted Complex, Buffalo

Categories: Architectural Buildings, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
4.9/5 based on 35+ reviews on the web
The Richardson Olmsted Complex is a former insane asylum in Buffalo, New York, United States. The building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986. The Olmstead Complex has undergone renovation and remodeling to function as a hotel and conference center for the city.ArchitectureThe large Medina red sandstone and brick hospital buildings were designed in 1870 in the Kirkbride Plan by architect Henry Hobson Richardson with grounds by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The complex consists of a central administrative tower and five pavilions or wards progressively set back on each side, for eleven buildings total, all connected by short curved two-story corridors. Patients were segregated by sex, males on the east side, females on the west. The wards housed mental patients until the mid-1970s. The central administration building was used for offices until 1994. In 1973, the Asylum was added to the National Register of Historic Places and in 1986, it was designated a National Historic Landmark.The complex, the largest commission of Richardson's career, marks the advent of his characteristic Romanesque Revival style. When emulated by later architects, this style is referred to as Richardsonian Romanesque. It has been the subject of a long-term preservation campaign. Nevertheless, three pavilions on the east side were demolished in the 1970s to make way for newer psychiatric facilities. The grounds north of the building have been occupied by Buffalo State College since the 1960s. Some extant buildings had been allowed to deteriorate.
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  • Very informative and interesting tour. Beautiful architecture and grounds with explanations such as why the bldg is at a slight angle and the "staircase that goes nowhere" Love that they let u go thro...  read more »
  • We took a tour of the Richardson complex with our family and friends. Tom, Paul and Caitlin gave an excellent tour! Tom did most of the speaking and was so interesting and spoke so well about the hist...  read more »
  • I took my fourth tour of the Richardson Olmsted Complex last Sunday (coincidentally, the date coincided with the date on the cornerstone of the building: September 18!). I keep taking the tour to see ...  read more »
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