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Architect Spotlight: Henry Hobson Richardson

HENRY HOBSON RICHARDSON (1838-1886)

Widely recognized as one of the most influential American architects of the 19th century, Henry Hobson Richardson left a significant mark on Buffalo’s architectural landscape. Richardson is best known for his signature architectural style, Richardsonian Romanesque. Inspired by Roman architecture, Richardsonian Romanesque is characterized by heavy forms, thick walls, towers, and semi-circular arches. Along with Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, Richardson is one of “the recognized trinity of American architecture”.

His unique spin on Romanesque Revival architecture was influenced by his fascination with medieval design, influenced by the 11th and 12th-century buildings in France, Italy and Spain. His work evoked a sense of permanency, with a visual weight that rooted the buildings to the ground. This can be seen in Hotel Henry’s iconic towers and strong lines. The Richardson Olmsted Campus was one of H.H. Richardson’s first great manifestations of his genius as an architect, and the largest building of his career.

Richardson designed buildings in Buffalo, Boston, Albany, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and other cities. By the time of his death in 1886, Henry Hobson Richardson had established himself as one of the most famous architects in America, setting the stage for modern American architecture.

Famous buildings by H.H. Richardson Include:

  • Trinity Church (Boston, MA)
  • Old Colony Station (North Easton, MA)
  • John J. Glessner House (Chicago, IL)
  • Thomas Crane Public Library (Quincy, MA)
  • Sever Hall at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)
  • New York State Capitol (Albany, NY)
  • Allegheny County Courthouse (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Marshall Field’s Wholesale Store (Chicago, IL)
  • Warder Mansion (Washington, D.C.)

Additional information can be found here.
Take a more in-depth look at the architectural history of the Richardson Olmsted Campus with Hotel Henry’s neighbor, the Richardson Center Corporation.


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