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Experience Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unique Architecture in Buffalo

posted by Teresa Farrell at 2020-01-24 17:52:00

Frank Lloyd Wright is one of the most iconic names in the history of American architecture. Famous for his innovative designs, with their unique look and intimate incorporation with landscaping and nature, Wright took the world by storm with his architectural genius. Between his birth in 1867 and his death in 1959, he designed more than 1000 different structures and became an integral influence on architecture throughout history. Some of the buildings he designed are located in Western New York; two of the most prominent are the Graycliff Estate, overlooking Lake Erie, and the Darwin Martin House Complex, located within the city of Buffalo. They’re both open for to the public for tours, and offer a unique look at one of history’s famous figures.

Wright designed the Graycliff Estate for Isabelle R. Martin, wife of Larkin Soap Company secretary Darwin Martin, , who requested a light and airy atmosphere for her home due to vision problems that would make a traditional home harder for her to navigate and enjoy. The result is an incredible design that incorporates natural light and lets the breathtaking beauty of this perfect setting spill right into the house. Tours of the property are available year round, with special seasonal offerings like fall foliage tours and sunset and twilight tours in the summer. Whatever time of year you visit, the one hour basic tour will give you a good idea of the history of the property and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the views, while the two hour tour goes into more depth about Wright’s career and the specific designs incorporated at Graycliff.

The Darwin Martin House Complex, located within Buffalo’s city limits, was also designed by Wright for the Martin family. The complex is located in the historic Parkside neighborhood of Buffalo, which designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The Darwin Martin House is considered one of Wright’s crowning architectural gems by scholars, considered to be the most substantial examples of his unique Prairie house style in the eastern United States. There are a whopping 394 examples of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed art glass throughout the Martin House Complex, and his famous “Tree of Life” window is located here as well. Like at Graycliff, there are options for tours: a basic one-hour tour will give you an understanding of Wright’s vision for the Martin House and the way he applied his designs to the space; a two-hour tour goes more in depth, providing more context to the story and offering a look at some additional spaces around the property not covered in the basic tour.

Both the Graycliff Estate and Martin House Complex are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and a visit to either inspires a visit to the other. There are even tours that combine a visit to both places, allowing you to choose a basic or in-depth look at each one. It is suggested that you wear comfortable footwear meant for walking, and those with mobility concerns should check with staff to make accommodations before their visit. Reservations are required for tours at both places, due to limited space, and hours of operation and schedules vary between the properties, so be sure to plan in advance—this is a unique experience you don’t want to miss!

Frank Lloyd Wright portrait photo credit New York World
Graycliff photo credit Marjoram
Darwin Martin House close up photo credit Phil Coman Forterie
Darwin Martin House photo credit Nathaniel Abbott

posted at: 2020-01-24 17:52:00, last updated: 2020-02-08 21:19:32

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