This stunning work of architecture, originally built in 1905, stands testament to the legacy of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Looking strikingly modern even to this day, the sleek design, sharp lines, and beautiful overhanging awnings inspire budding new architects to this day. The father of what he liked to call organic architecture, Wright championed the synergy of his buildings with the humanity of their owners and the natural landscape they inhabited. There is no finer example of his work than the Darwin D. Martin House Complex in Buffalo, NY.
The six-building complex was commissioned by Darwin D. Martin and is considered by many to be the masterpiece of Wright’s career. While the complex has undergone fairly extensive damage and even demolishment over its lifespan, it is now undergoing one of the largest and most ambitious restoration projects of its kind. Reconstructions have been completed on the conservatory, carriage house, and pergola and most of the main complex has been renovated; there are still ongoing projects but it shouldn’t affect your visitation.
Restoration began in 1992, when the Marin House Restoration Corporation was formed in order to raise funds to finance the project. The complex is now recognized as a National Historic Landmark as well as a beautiful testament to the work of a true American innovator.
The complex is also home to a collection of artefacts and archival materials relating not only to the architect himself but also to the house and the family that lived there, allowing a look into the history of the buildings. The Art Glass collection, or “light screens” as Wright preferred to call, them are extensive and the most famous exhibited here is the “Tree Of Life” window, which contains over 750 individual panes of glass and is a truly original and awe-inspiring sight.
Admission and Opening Hours
All visitors are welcome to come and admire the complex from the outside, but if you want to get inside, the only way is to be part of a sanctioned tour of the buildings. You can book these tours via the website and it’s highly advised to do so in advance to avoid disappointment, as they try to keep the size of the groups fairly intimate to maximize the guests’ enjoyment, engagement, and education. There are two tours offered of the complex from the compound itself, beginning in the Greatbatch Pavilion, which is the all-glass building next to the complex. The tours offered are either 2 hours or 1 hour in length and while the 1-hour tour does offer an extensive and in-depth look at the property, the 2-hour tour provides a little more insight and also visits a few extra rooms around the complex. Tickets for the 2-hour tour will cost around $35 with discounts for seniors, students, and members, while the 1-hour tour will be around the $20 mark with the same concessions, although members can attend this tour free of charge.
The Darwin D. Martin House also features on several other tours offered around the city and one of particular note is the All Wright All Day Tour, in which you are shuttled around some of the architect's greatest works and achievements in the local area aboard a vintage green, climate-controlled forest lawn trolley. It is a truly remarkable journey that looks into the works of this innovative and inspirational architect; tickets for the entire day go for $130.
Due to ongoing renovation work on the complex, opening hours and closures change depending on the work itself and the season. The best way to see the next available visiting time is to check on the website. The same is true for the All Wright All Day Tour, which is only scheduled for certain days and should be booked in advance.
125 Jewett Parkway, Buffalo, NY 14214