Designed by Toshiko Mori Architect (TMA), the 7,775 sq.ft. pavilion serves as a visitor center for the Darwin D. Martin House, Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1903‐5 residential complex. Providing orientation space, exhibition galleries and visitor support spaces, the Pavilion is set within the historically rich context of the Martin House compound, comprised of five Wright prairie style buildings.
TMA’s design responds to its context through contrast rather than imitation. The Pavilion reinterprets the Martin House to explain the structural, infrastructural, and programmatic relationships of the historic building, while continuing Wright’s lifelong interest in innovation through the exploration of materials, technologies, and techniques.
The inverted hip roof of the Pavilion both references the form of Wright’s building and reflects the public nature of the building’s program, while the glass façade of the Pavilion allows uninterrupted viewing of the Martin House and contrasts with the introversion of Wright’s design.
Where Wright used a series of hovering hip roofs with powerful cantilevers to shelter the family within, the Pavilion’s inverted hip roof echoes the Martin House’s proportions in a dramatic, upturned gesture of welcome to the public.
This bold new project revives the spirit of great architectural commissions in Buffalo that characterized the era in which Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Martin House.
The Pavilion’s design translates the clusters of interior piers of the Martin House into a single cluster of four piers that support the impressive pavilion roof. The rhythmic pattern of the Martin House pergola windows are repeated in the Pavilion’s glass panel dimensions. The profile of the custom made bricks of the Martin House is reflected in the shape of the fluted concrete walls of the Pavilion. Instead of Wright’s opaque brickwork and diffusely‐lit interior, TMA creates a glass enclosure awash in daylight.
Following in Wright’s legacy in innovation and use of progressive technology, the pavilion’s façade is made of transparent triple glazed high performance glass that provides thermal insulation while maximizing daylight. The structure of the building appears to float, with an expansive roof resting on the four main piers. Along the perimeter are CNC milled solid stainless steel columns.
The building is named the Eleanor and Wilson Greatbatch Pavilion to honor Wilson Greatbatch for his important contribution to medical science in 1958 of the implantable pacemaker and for his wife, Eleanor who provided steadfast support to her husband during development of the pacemaker and beyond.
The Martin House is located at 125 Jewett Parkway within the Parkside East Historic District.
Tour reservations: 716‐856‐3858 or visit www.darwinmartinhouse.org
Photos by Biff Henrich courtesy of Martin House Restoration Corporation.