Darwin D. Martin
House Complex - Table of Contents
2002 Photographs - Gardener's
Darwin D. Martin House Complex
285 Woodward Ave., Buffalo, NY
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
Current owners: Martin House Restoration Corp.
Click on photos for larger size
Ribbon windows with art glass
The built-in planter is an important feature in Wright's attempt to combine nature and interior spaces
Private, side entrance - typical Wright
The Gardener's Cottage was an integral part of the Darwin D. Martin estate complex. Originally, there were six buildings on the estate: the main house, the Barton House (built for Martin's sister, Delta, and her husband, George), the gardener's cottage, a two-story garage and stable, a greenhouse, and a conservatory connected to the main house by a long pergola. This is where Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie style reached its fullest expression.
The gardener of this wood-and stucco cottage was Reuben Polder, who had to provide fresh flowers daily for every room in the main house, a task which he assiduously accomplished until his employer died in 1935.
Frank Lloyd Wright strove to open up the confining "box" of traditional American houses in his prairie house designs, but the gardener's cottage, made of wood and stucco, was so modest in size that a boxy configuration appears to have been inevitable. Nevertheless, Wright managed to create an illusion of the pier and cantilever principle that characterized the Martin house by placing tall rectangular panels (or pseudo-piers) at each corner of the building.
Illusion operates inside the cottage as well. The living room extends across the entire front of the house, gathering light and a sense of spaciousness from a sequence of windows on three sides. A fireplace suggests a fourth wall but allows space to extend deeper into the house on either side.
The other two houses that Wright designed in Buffalo are the William R. Heath House and the Walter D. Davidson House. He also designed Graycliff, the Martin summer house in nearby Derby, NY. Wright's factory building for the Larkin Soap Co., to Buffalo's shame, was demolished in 1950.
- "Buffalo Architecture: A Guide." Cambridge: MIT Press, 1981
- Classic Buffalo: A Heritage of Distinguished Architecture, by Richard O. Reisem