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Wright Furniture: Barrel Chair, Frank Lloyd Wright circa 1904

Posted by George Pudlo on March 14, 2012 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (0)

                          


This Barrel Chair was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, circa 1904, with oak. It was originally designed for the Darwin Martin House in Buffalo, New York. Frank Lloyd Wright and the Martin Brothers -Darwin and Martin, had a long lasting relationship that resulted in numerous commissions. Darwin Martin was Wright's ideal client, with deep pockets.

Darwin Martin House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1904

Posted by George Pudlo on December 27, 2011 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)




Darwin Martin House

125 Jewett Parkway

Buffalo, NY 14214


The story of the Darwin Martin House begins, not in Buffalo, where the complex would stand, but in Frank Lloyd Wright's own neighborhood of Oak Park, Illinois. Frank Lloyd Wright had designed a house for William Martin, brother of Darwin, in 1902. The house created such an impression on Darwin that he hired Wright to design his own home that same year. In addition to the Darwin Martin House Complex commission came a commission for a commercial building, the Larkin Administration Building (1903) in Buffalo, and a factory, the EZ Polish Factory (1905) in Chicago.


In the Darwin Martin House, Frank Lloyd Wright was responsible for the design of six buildings occupying just under 30,000 square feet. The cost was more than $170,000. By 1907, the complex was considered complete, with the exception of the gardener's cottage, that would come in 1909.


The Darwin Martin House is celebrated for its modernity. The sight of the house would have come as a shock to neighbors and visitors, much as Wright's Prairie Houses were received in Oak Park. A client with money is always an asset to an architect. Wright, especially, was no exception. He was able to fully realize his visions when there was money. Between the six structures, Wright employed 394 art glass windows; The Tree of Life among them. The largest component of the complex was the Darwin Martin House proper, at nearly 15,000 square feet. A sheltered pergola connects the house to the Darwin Martin Conservatory, which is then joined on either side by the Darwin Martin Carriage House and the George Barton House for Martin’s sister Delta and her husband. The gardener’s cottage was built far detached from the main complex in 1909. Martin asserted Wright's genius by remaining in the house until his death in 1935, at which point the story of the house saddens.


The remaining Martin family members abandoned the Martin House after 1937, and it was owned by the City of Buffalo by the end of the decade. Slowly the house began to fall apart, as any structure will do without humans to care for it. In 1962, the Darwin Martin House pergola, conservatory, and carriage house were demolished to make way for an apartment building. The fate of the Martin House Complex was unclear as it slowly began to deteriorate.


In 1992, the Martin House Restoration Corporation formed to save and restore the Darwin Martin House Complex. A decade later, the house was in their ownership, and the MHRC was well into their second phase of five restoration phases scheduled for completion soon. The process included acquisition of the properties; restoration of the roofs and gutters; foundation waterproofing; and complete reconstruction of the pergola, conservatory, and carriage house. The Darwin Martin House stands open to the public.


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