Buffalo, NY

The Richardson Olmsted Campus


Designed by H.H. Richardson and Frederick Law Olmsted in the 1870s, the 203-acre Richardson Olmsted Campus began as the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane. The 38-building site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1986. SGH helped prepare a historic structures report (HSR) and subsequently designed structural and building enclosure repairs for the adaptive reuse of three buildings into a high-end boutique hotel.

Working with Goody Clancy, SGH helped develop an HSR for the Richardson Center Corporation. We assessed the condition of the administration building, the remaining patient wards, and several support buildings, all of which were unoccupied for decades. SGH observed severe deterioration of the wood floor framing and exterior walls, identified portions of the abandoned structures at risk of failing, and worked with local structural engineers to design shoring.

Richardson Center Corporation raised funds to adapt a portion of the site and SGH served as the building enclosure consultant and structural engineer for the rehabilitation of three buildings. Highlights of our work include the following:

  • Assessed the structures’ and building enclosures’ condition
  • Examined the wood framing to identify species and strength
  • Analyzed existing floor framing and established capacities for each room to help the architect coordinate programming, while minimizing strengthening
  • Helped the architect evaluate proposed modifications to limit the code-required upgrades and avoid a seismic retrofit
  • Designed two steel trusses embedded within an existing wall to create new openings in masonry bearing walls below the ballroom
  • Designed new framing and structural modifications for interior alterations and a new entry vestibule addition
  • Provided recommendations for the enclosure systems, including repairing exterior stone on mass masonry walls, replacing slate shingle roofing and windows, and repairing copper roofing
  • Collaborated with the project team to address unforeseen field conditions

Project Summary



Completion Date

10M (stabilization)

Construction Value

102M (adaptive reuse)

Construction Value


Preservation | New Construction
Building Enclosures | Structures | Applied Science & Research
Goody Clancy Associates | Flynn Battaglia Architects

Key team members

Matthew Bronski
Matthew Bronski
Senior Principal
Pedro Sifre
Pedro Sifre
Senior Principal
Erik Farrington
Erik Farrington