The Victorian-era psychologist Thomas Story Kirkbride advocated the use of fresh air and elegant architecture for healing mental illnesses. Under the Kirkbride Plan for asylums, patients resided in extensive, well-landscaped grounds and palace-like structures. Yet inside, unplanned by the architects, patients often were restrained in chains and dark dungeons and suffered ice-water baths.
Plan would surround Poughkeepsie’s long-vacant Hudson River Psychiatric Center with suburban homes, shopping
The long-vacant Hudson River Psychiatric Center in Poughkeepsie, New York, is poised for redevelopment. The 156-acre hospital complex, listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), was built in 1871 and closed in 2001. Designed by Frederick Clarke Withers, with a landscape architecture plan by Olmsted & Vaux, the site’s significance derives primarily from the expressive Gothic Revival architecture organized under the Kirkbride Plan. According the NRHP entry, 11 of the buildings on site have particular historic significance.
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No soggy Wednesday morning in New York could deter park aficionados, urban planners, and assorted Olmstedians from attending a talk and book signing by Alexander Garvin and Robert Twombly. The former head of planning at the LMDC, Garvin is the author of Public Parks: The Key to Livable Communities (W.W. Norton, $59.95), just hitting the bookstores this week. Twombly’s Frederick Law Olmsted: Essential Texts (W.W. Norton, $24.95), came out this past summer.