In a boost to heritage tourism, the visitor’s center at the Darwin Martin House is expected to be completed by year end. Thanks to a significant $2.5 million gift from the East Hill Foundation to pay for half of its cost. The visitor’s center will provide support space for Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1906 residential masterpiece including ticketing, galleries, a theater, and gift shop.
The Buffalo News has the story:
Ground is expected to be broken in late February, with completion by year’s end. The much-praised structure, designed by Toshiko Mori in 2003, will be called the Eleanor and Wilson Greatbatch Pavilion.
“We plan to welcome the world to the visitors center in early 2009,” said Mary F. Roberts, executive director of the Martin House Restoration Corp.
Situated on the western flank of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Jewett Parkway masterpiece, the graceful, lowprofile building will be the capstone of a 15-year, $50 million effort to return the six-building compound that Wright designed for the Martin family in the early 1900s to its original condition.
The complex eventually will be operated as a state museum and is expected to become the top drawing card for architectural tours.
A description of the design by Toshiko Mori:
Following Wright’s dictum that “Form and Function are One,” the design seeks to integrate the aesthetic and philosophical dimensions of the project with its technical and performative components. Furthermore, with the Martin House having had a definitive impact on the development of early Modernism, this project seeks to restate the importance of Frank Lloyd Wright in presaging the course of architecture as it exists today. Current environmental concerns have forced us to reconsider the true meaning of “Organic Architecture,” to understand it as an integral architecture that embraces technological advancements in materials and in mechanical and structural systems with expressive intentions that inspire the human spirit.
Wilson Greatbatch created the first implantable cardiac pacemaker. Clarence-based Greatbatch is a world leader in the development, design, and manufacture of critical components for implantable medical devices.
Update, Monday 1/28:-
This gift is not a personal gift from Mr. and Mrs. Greatbatch, but rather from the East Hill Foundation, in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Greatbatch. The building will be named “The Eleanor and Wilson Greatbatch Pavilion.”
“The MHRC will be eternally grateful for this outstanding opportunity to bestow the Greatbatch name on the garden pavilion designed by Toshiko Mori,” said Martin House Restoration Corporation board president, John N. Walsh, III. “Buildings and the programs nurtured within them are inspired and protected by the lengthened shadow of those names they bear. Wilson and Eleanor Greatbatch inspire and enrich us by their lives, vision, achievements and generosity.”