Thursday, August 11, 2011

Darwin D. Martin House Complex

The Darwin D. Martin House Complex, also known as the Darwin Martin House State Historic Site, was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built between 1903 & 1905. Located at 125 Jewett Parkway in Buffalo, New York, it is considered to be one of the most important projects from Wright's Prairie School era, and ranks along with The Guggenheim in New York City and Fallingwater in Pennsylvania among his greatest works.












Wright designed the complex as an integrated composition of connecting buildings, consisting of the primary building, the Martin House, a long pergola connecting with a conservatory, acarriage house-stable and a smaller residence, the Barton House, which shares the site and was built for George F. Barton and his wife Delta, Darwin Martin's sister. 
The complex also includes a gardener’s cottage, the last building completed.  The complex exemplifies Wright's Prairie School ideal and is comparable with other notable works from this period in his career, such as the Robie House in Chicago and the Dana-Thomas House in Springfield, Illinois. Wright was especially fond of the Martin House design, referring to it for some 50 years as his "opus", and calling the complex "A well-nigh perfect composition".

The Martin House Restoration Corporation (MHRC), founded in 1992,[27] is a non-profit organization with a mandate to restore the complex and to open it as a public house museum in its 1907 condition.[27] The Barton House was purchased on behalf of the MHRC in 1994 and the title to the Martin House was transferred from the University at Buffalo to the MHRC in 2002.[12] The restoration began with Buffalo architects Hamilton Houston Lownie Architects (HHL) hired to restore the roof of the Martin House. The Gardener's Cottage was purchased in 2006, and the demolished carriage house, conservatory, and pergola were reconstructed and completed in 2007.[12] 
Currently the MHRC operate guided public tours and present educational programs for volunteers and the general public. In 2008, the Gardener's Cottage was finally included on the tours of the complex.
The Eleanor & Wilson Greatbatch Pavilion Visitor Center, designed by Toshiko Mori, opened March 12, 2009. [30





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