It’s been five years since I launched Barbara A. Campagna/Architecture + Planning, PLLC and while many things have changed, my goal to work on “greening what’s already here” continues to be met, often in places I never expected. Many people are finding new ways to integrate historic preservation and green building practices, which makes my venture a delightful and intellectually inspiring one. This is blog FOUR of my fifth anniversary week.
Creating a New Cultural Institution for Buffalo and Western New York
The Buffalo Architecture Center is a new cultural institution in the City of Buffalo, located in the renovated Richardson Olmsted Complex. The Richardson Olmsted Complex, built as the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane from 1872-1897, was designed by towering historic figures in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture and mental health – H. H. Richardson, Frederick Law Olmsted & Calvert Vaux, and Dr. Thomas Kirkbride. The three core buildings of the historic complex will open in 2017 as the Hotel Henry Urban Resort and Conference Center and the Buffalo Architecture Center.
Both the Richardson Olmsted Complex and the Buffalo Architecture Center were created in 2006 as part of a New York State funding initiative to preserve and develop this National Historic Landmark site. Two separate corporations and nonprofit organizations were created – the Richardson Center Corporation (RCC) to manage and develop the full site and the Richardson Architecture Center (RAC) to manage and develop the Buffalo Architecture Center. (Its official 501(c)(3) name is the Richardson Architecture Center but it will be called and branded The Buffalo Architecture Center.)
The Buffalo Architecture Center will explore the excellence in architecture and city planning as demonstrated by Buffalo’s outstanding architectural heritage. The Center will provide orientation, prompt inspiration, and serve as a gathering place to launch new ideas related to architecture, landscape and design. Through exhibitions, tours, programs, and outreach, the Center will engage the public in Buffalo’s architecture, landscape design, and urban planning, and its role in culture and design literacy.
The Center will foster collaboration with organizations with the similar goal of activating Buffalo’s architecture, planning, and landscape. By providing a center to host exhibitions, events, and programs, the Center will actively collaborate with aligned groups in dialogue and shared programming. The Center is seen as a convener of other cultural and community groups in Western New York who have interest and involvement in design.
The RAC has functioned as a committee to the RCC and in 2016 was spun off as a separate and distinct organization, as has always been intended. The Center will offer exciting and interactive visitor experiences for many audiences and have three specific galleries that address and celebrate Western New York’s past and future architecture and its place in world architecture. It will offer spaces for programming in conjunction with the Hotel Henry conference center and become a thought leader in the national architecture scene. The founding board is currently being assembled that includes professionals who have been involved in the Center’s development since 2006 and new leaders whose interest in Buffalo’s culture can support the governance and creation of this exciting new organization.Our new board has been attending visioning workshops, working on an Executive Director position description, crafting an exhibit brief and concepts and developing goals for an exhibit content and design team, and a branding and website team. I am honored that I was voted in as the first President of the Buffalo Architecture Center and look forward to working with my board colleagues and cultural partners to open Buffalo’s newest cultural destination.
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