Architectural Walking Tour with the heritage group Preservation Buffalo Niagara. But on that occasion, we only had time to see most of the buildings from the outside and the walk finished too late for us to take the daily tour of the City Hall at noon. We planned to take more time with some of these buildings on this trip. We went into the lobby of the Electric Building and saw some beautiful Art Deco features including an ornate mailbox and elevator. The Prudential/Guarantee building has added a little museum that describes the history of the building and the details of the architecture. We learned that this building had installed the first passenger elevators in Buffalo, had its own power generator, indoor plumbing including 2 private bathrooms (including baths), a barbershop, and a shoeshine stand. We saw examples of the terracotta used to clad the steel frame of the tower. We admired the decor in the Hotel Lafayette and stopped for a cold drink in their chairs that resembled baseball mitts. It was interesting to see the art decorating the public washrooms including of Robert Redford, Clark Gable and James Dean in the ladies room and pinup girls in the men's.
o home, buy a six pack of beer, and watch a good football game.", earning him the nickname "
Wright used custom-made yellow Roman bricks that are 4-inches longer and wider than normal red bricks. He created 16 different abstract patterns for his windows that featured more than 750 pieces of intricately patterned clear, translucent and coloured glass separated by brass-coated zinc bars. Wright created decorative designs that illuminated and cast interesting shadows and reflect the colours of the window onto the floor and ceiling of the interior. In his most famous window design called the "Tree of Life", he reduces the image of a wisteria tree to its most elementary geometric form. He uses a square for the roots, simple lines for the trunk and chevrons for branches, with gold, red, and green glass pieces representing the leaves. This iconic design has been reproduced on many other products including textiles, pillows, mugs and more. The bronze light scones are comprised of circles set within squares. The stone chimneys emanating from the flat roofs were inspired by Japanese birdhouses. Wright, who spent time in Japan, was particular to Asian influences, as shown by not only the chimney design, but also some of the artwork and wood cut prints that hang one the walls inside the house. It is telling that Frank Lloyd Wright influenced the interior decor and furniture of the Martin House, as opposed to Darwin Martin or his wife Isabelle.
The two interior areas where photos are allowed are the Pergola and Conservatory. The Pergola is a 100ft long covered hallway that runs from the entrance of the Martin House to the Conservatory, which is a greenhouse area built for growing plants. The Conservatory features a glass and metal roof supported by brick piers and has a built-in watering system activated by the turning of a valve. A plaster sculpture of the Winged Victory of Samothrace (aka Nike), the Greek goddess of Victory stands at the entrance of the conservatory and can be seen from afar as you walk down the pergola.
The Carriage House was built as a stable for horses and storage for a horse drawn carriage. Eventually it was used as a car garage with an upstairs apartment added on. Today the property houses the Gift Shop, but you can still see evidence of its original usage, as the horse stalls are still in place, as well as a hayloft that is accessible via a metal ladder leading to an opening in the ceiling. The carriage house, as well as the pergola and conservatory were actually destroyed in the 1960s and have been recreated through an ongoing restoration project that also includes reviving the second floor bedrooms and the Barton House. The gift shop offers many different items emblazoned with Frank Lloyd Wright's signature designs. We bought a pillow and a mug to go along with our Christmas Story Night Light that we picked up in Cleveland. Having visited several Frank Lloyd Wright houses now including ones in Arizona and Chicago, I think the Martin House is one of his best works and well worth visiting.