Richardson Olmsted Complex - Section perspective through Administration Building.
© 2013 Deborah Berke & Partners Architects Richardson Olmsted Complex - Section perspective through Administration Building.

The new entry and landscape for the Richardson Olmsted Complex in Buffalo, N.Y., will be designed by Deborah Berke Partners, with executive architect Flynn Battaglia Architects. Originally designed in 1870 by H. H. Richardson, with a landscape by Frederick Law Olmsted, the former Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986, and has been closed to the public and abandoned since the 1990s. Now, the complex will be reused as a cultural amenity and hospitality venue for the city. Following a rehabilitation effort by the Richardson Center Corporation, the site will include a Buffalo Architecture Center as part of a $100 million plan approved by former Gov. George Pataki in 2006 to fund art institutions in Buffalo and revitalize the Richardson Complex.

"In addition to being one of the many architectural jewels that attract tourists to Buffalo, this project will create hundreds of construction jobs as well as permanent employment opportunities in the region,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a release. “The Richardson Center Corporation had been a true partner to New York State and I applaud them for their continued commitment to Buffalo."

Founding partner Deborah Berke, FAIA, noted the opportunity to add to a historic project: “We are designing a 21st-century architectural addition to H. H. Richardson's spectacular 19th-century buildings that is both rooted in history and forward thinking." Renderings provided by the firm show a glass-enclosed entry to the Towers Administration Building, with a section showing several other interventions taking place within the building, including a cafe and the Buffalo Architecture Center on the ground floor. The upper three floors will contain the lobby of an 88-room boutique hotel—which will occupy two adjacent buildings—as well as event and conference halls. Landscape architecture firm Andropogon Associates will attempt to restore Olmsted's original landscape at the complex's South Lawn entry, while improving circulation routes and adding rain gardens for stormwater drainage.

Construction is set to begin on the facilities in early 2014, with expected openings in the spring of 2016.

For more images and information about the Richardson Olmsted Complex, please visit ARCHITECT’s Project Gallery.

For more projects by Deborah Berke Partners, please visit ARCHITECT’s Firm Profiles.