Richardson Olmsted Campus

Transforming parking lots into community recreational spaces

The Richardson Olmsted Campus is one of Buffalo’s most iconic buildings and a National Historic Landmark that is over 100 years old. The campus recently underwent a massive renovation and preservation project to bring the site back to life and into the public realm after many decades of neglect and to support tourism and business activity. Green infrastructure tools were used to create vibrant public green spaces in line with the original vision for the space. Completed in 2013, the re-greening of the nine-acre South Lawn transformed two large parking lots at the Richardson Olmsted Campus’ south entry into a welcoming space for community gathering and recreation.

The project is both contemporary and modern, renewing Frederick Law Olmsted’s and Calvert Vaux’s original vision for pastoral surroundings and their therapeutic effects on patients of the former asylum. The project included planting of 125 new trees, complementing existing trees and creating open and canopied spaces with attractive views of the Richardson buildings, as well as installation of rain gardens that address stormwater drainage and improve water quality.

  • View of tree plantings, rain gardens and stormwater planters on the perimeter of parking area at Richardson