Richardson Olmsted Campus

444 Forest Avenue
Entrance on Richmond Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14213
(716) 601-1150 Visit Website

One of Buffalo’s most iconic buildings and a National Historic Landmark, the 140-year-old Richardson Olmsted Campus, has been renewed after years of neglect. Designed by one of America’s premier architects, Henry Hobson Richardson, in concert with the famed landscape team of Frederick 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 treatment for people with mental illness developed by Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride in his work, On the Construction, Organization, and General Arrangements of Hospitals for the Insane with Some Remarks on Insanity and Its Treatment, known as the “Kirkbride Plan”. The Kirkbride Plan was the first scientific architectural response to mental health treatment. Nature, exercise, fresh air, and an adherence to moral treatment were all a major focuses of this style of mental health care. Over the years, as mental health treatment changed and resources were diverted, the buildings and grounds began a slow deterioration.

By 1974, the last patients were removed from the historic wards. On June 24th, 1986, the former Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane was added to the National Historic Landmark registry.

In 2006, the Richardson Center Corporation was formed with a mandate to save the buildings and bring the Campus back to life through a State appropriation for this architectural treasure.

Today, the revitalized South Lawn provides a greenspace and public park for both the Elmwood Village and Buffalo’s Westside. Events range from movie nights to jazz concerts. The towers building has been preserved, and was reopened to the public as the Richardson Hotel in March 2023.

Tours of the Campus and vacant sections are offered, and can be booked through our website.