Roaming Buffalo: The Martin House

The Darwin D. Martin House Complex is a National Historic Landmark in Buffalo, designed by famed American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Together with the Fallingwater residence (Pennsylvania) and the Guggenheim Museum (New York City), it is considered to be one of Wright’s greatest and most influential works.

The complex covers 2700 square meters in the quiet Parkside East residential neighbourhood, and was completed in 1907, taking some five years to construct. It was the family home of Darwin Martin, a local businessman, wealthy industrialist, and eventual lifelong friend of Wright. Following the Great Depression and the death of Martin, the buildings fell into disrepair and conditions deteriorated further during the post-war years – seemingly coincident with Buffalo’s waning industrial status.

Today, the Martin House has been restored to its original 1907 condition and open to the public as a house museum, with interior access through docent-led tours. A visitors center adjacent to the main building accommodates the many tourists – this is now one of Buffalo’s most popular attractions.

Even by today’s standards, the design is modern and beautifully proportioned, a testament to Wright’s singular vision and architectural genius. No detail is left to chance – the building’s integration with its natural surroundings as well as use of light and space was revolutionary at a time when every other house was of traditional Victorian design. The interior furnishings were also designed by Wright, resulting in a consistent experience throughout the house. The craftsmanship – both original and restoration – is truly exceptional.

Makes me want to check out the Fallingwater building – maybe next year!

Location Map

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