The Globe and Mail
has published yet another article on Frank Lloyd Wright here in Buffalo. On August 15 writer David LeBlanc shed some light on Graycliff (see here
), and now he's telling the story of the plight of the renewed beauty of the Martin House complex (see here
). Not only does LeBlanc describe the painstaking journey, he also broaches the subject of authenticity, which is a topic that tends to generate varied opinions. If you're on the edge as to whether recreating lost architectural gems such as the Martin House complex (partially) is worth the cost and effort, be sure to read LeBlanc's piece. Here's an excerpt followed by an aside:
As most architecture buffs in Southern Ontario know, Wright's 100-foot pergola, conservatory and carriage house have been painstakingly reproduced from original plans - with bricks manufactured in vintage "beehive" kilns and reproduction art glass windows - at a cost of millions upon millions of dollars. This, in turn, has spurred something of a posthumous Wright-building frenzy in Buffalo, as two unrealized projects have also been completed (not by the MHRC) in the past decade: the Fontana Boathouse on the Niagara River, designed for the University of Wisconsin in 1905, and Darwin Martin's Blue Sky Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Cemetery, designed in 1928.
While "recreation" is uttered often at the Darwin Martin complex, at this level of craftsmanship it's not a dirty word. If anything, in (W)righting these past wrongs, Buffalo is showing the sort of leadership that all history and tourist dollar-loving cities should follow (and what city doesn't love those things?).
As an aside, for anyone who ever thought about the possible rebuilding of the Larkin Administration Building, all of the plans exist today, and it could be built authentically rebuilt right down to the elevator buttons. There are some things that, of course, wouldn't be rebuilt such as the air conditioning and ventilation systems, which are no longer needed to filter out the smoke from passing steam ships and trains. Heck, maybe someday First Niagara might need a stand alone administration building... just sayin'.