The Martin House Restoration Corporation has announced that one of Martin House’s missing living room skylights has been replaced with a reproduction that might have fooled Frank Lloyd Wright himself. The skylight, combined with a nearby transom window and a row of “wisteria” style doors, creates a sort of “light screen” that Wright incorporated into his architecture so as to break up traditional window schematics with flooding light that doused the room in iridescent colors. Despite the massive number of panels of art glass that were built into the home (400 total), less than half of the originals remain today due to breakage or pilfering during the 17-year time lapse when the house remained empty.
The replacement of the latest “tartan” grid skylight (designed to mimic the house’s building plan) is one more step towards restoring the architectural masterpiece. When all options to replace original Martin House windows, still in existence in one form or another (private and public collections), are exhausted, artisans from Oakbrook Esser in Wisconsin (official art glass studio authorized by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation) are commissioned to fabricate replacements up to the spec standards of the originals. Thankfully, to the untrained eye, and even the most discerning eye, these windows are stunning replicas that help to steward the Martin House back to its original glory.
*Photo: Darwin D. Martin House detail view of living room skylight with adjacent sixteen-foot transom window and bank of five “wisteria”-style verandah doors. Biff Henrich / IMG_INK, courtesy Martin House Restoration Corporation.