Darwin D. Martin Estate Restoration in Buffalo

In 1904 Darwin D. Martin commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design the complex of buildings that would become his family home. The Martin estate was completed in 1907 on a 1.4-acre site in the Frederick Law Olmsted designed Parkside neighborhood of North Buffalo. The composition consisted of five elements; the Main House, the Pergola, the Conservatory, the Carriage House, and the landscape. The complex so pleased Wright that he called it “the opus”.

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In 1992 the not-for-profit Martin House Restoration Corporation was formed whose mission was restoration and management of the entire Martin estate. HHL Architects lead the design of the reconstruction of the three missing buildings and restoring the house to its 1907 condition through a phased construction program.

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Reconstruction resulted from a multi-year search for materials matching the originals including roman brick, interior/exterior mosaic floor tile, handmade terra cotta roof tiles, cast-in-place concrete, limestone, art glass windows, old growth cypress, quarter-sawn oak, light fixtures, and bronze or brass hardware. To ensure the conservation of the buildings, a geothermal based HVAC system was incorporated to maintain constant temperature/humidity control in the buildings without requiring the use of chillers or cooling towers.

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