By Christine Krolewicz, Richardson Center Corporation, Visitor Services Manager Intern:
Last year, the doors of the former Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane were opened for the first time in over ten years for the National Preservation Conference. Over 2,000 guests visited the site over a ten day period, and demand to see the Richardson Olmsted Complex has amplified ever since.
The Richardson Center Corporation, appointed to rehabilitate the Complex by then-Governer Pataki in 2006, was eager to continue showcasing their progress on the first phase of development, the Richardson Olmsted Complex Core Project, which has begun with the rehabilitation of the South Lawn and the initial phases of developing the Buffalo Architecture Center, a boutique hotel, and event and conference space. A full summer tour schedule was developed to accommodate 300 people, and the tours largely sold out within weeks, with only two opportunities now left to experience the Complex this year!
The most unique tour still available is the South Lawn Landscape Tour on Saturday, July 14th at 10:00am. This 90 minute tour is hosted by Chris Mendel, Registered Landscape Architect of Andropogon Associates, and designer of the rehabilitation of the South Lawn. The tour will highlight the historical significance of the grounds of the Complex, originally developed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux to integrate the landscape with the medical treatment of patients.
Olmsted is known for designing Central Park, as well as the park system in Buffalo, and the South Lawn is one of the few therapeutic asylum landscapes still existing today. Discover how the grounds will be transformed into a 9 acre distinctive gateway and a welcoming, innovative public space.
The South Lawn Landscape Tour is limited to 25 attendees, so visit richardson-olmsted.com
to reserve your spot today! This tour is also a registered ASLA course for continuing education credits for landscape architects - contact email@example.com
Finally, the July 26th Open House grants the public access to learn about the past, present and future through a self-guided tour. Guests will have the chance to explore the restored spaces in Towers Building 45, including the grand entryway, the black walnut and tiger maple staircase, the decorative plaster details, and the former Superintendent's Office. Attendees will also experience the unrestored spaces in the adjacent Ward Building 10, and see patient rooms and the expansive corridors that were an important part of the treatment.
The Open House is $15 and runs from 6-9pm on July 26th. Attendees are reminded to expect a 15-20 minute wait, as only 150 persons can be in the building at a time. Visit richardson-olmsted.com
to purchase tickets. A similar opportunity is the Museums by Moonlight open house on September 27th.
Lead image: Caroline Bronckers