Martin House Complex - Table of Contents

Eleanor and Wilson Greatbatch Pavilion
The Visitor Center at Frank Lloyd Wright's Darwin D. Martin House Complex
125 Jewett Parkway, Buffalo, NY

Martin House Complex - Official Home Page

Visitor Information




Toshiko Mori ... Photograph


See Toshiko Mori's comments below

Construction company:


Main contributors:

Greatbatch family (East Hill Foundation) ... Wilson Greatbatch


$5 million


5,900-square-foot main floor

Heating and cooling:

Geothermal (See below)

Exhibits design:

2X4,Inc., in coordination with TMA Design

TEXT Beneath Illustrations

Photos taken March 31, 2009
Click on illustrations for larger size -- and additional information

Martin House at right


Newly planted honey locust trees

Floor to ceiling glass wall


Triple-glazed walls



. . . .

Triple-glazed walls

No vents or pipes interfere with sight lines



Students from France watch a short film

Rows of backlit glass cases

Touch-screen interactive video terminals


. . . .

The Gardener's Cottage


A transparent, glass-walled pavilion that integrates with its landscape

Pergola ... Martin House






Martin House Complex - Table of Contents

Construction photo taken April 20, 2008

Construction photo taken April 20, 2008



Our goal is to restate the significance of Wright's contributions to the legacy of modern architecture and to express a "higher ideal of unity."

Current ecological concerns are focusing us once again to reconsider the spirit of his principle of Organic Architecture; that is architecture that is integral and intrinsic, that embraces technological advances that will work with natural forces and that has poetic intentions to lift the human spirit.

- Toshiko Mori On April 4, 2009

International style is something that came after Bauhaus mainly in the US. It largely simplified and reduced the richness of original modernist design especially that of Mies for the use of market rate office building designs. Therefore, ideologically, what I did was exactly the opposite of International Style to make modern language more complex by imbuing it with meaning, reference and function.

- Toshiko Mori Unpublished correspondence on April 4, 2009

Unlike the glass boxes of 1950s modernism to which it bears a  superficial resemblance, Toshiko Mori's Greatbatch Pavilion engages Wright's Martin House in a subtle dialogue. Mori's four great piers support a  dramatically cantilevered roof that is an inverted version of the Martin  House hipped roof and provides a sweeping panoramic view of the entire Martin complex.

- Jack Quinan

Toshiko Mori's design presents a counterpoint to the signature architectural principles Wright exercised throughout the Martin House Complex. Where Wright used brick, wood, and plaster, Mori turned to new materials, such as stainless steel columns and triple-glazed glass to create a 21st-century iteration of Wright's "organic principles."

- artdaily/org, Toshiko Mori's Visitor Pavilion Opens at Frank Lloyd Wright's Darwin D. Martin House On April 4, 2009

The building is conceived as a transparent, glass-walled pavilion that integrates with its landscape and provides a dramatic view of the Martin House campus.

The design seeks to enhance the public's appreciation of the Martin House through the element of contrast rather than through imitation. Mori says that the building engages in a "double reading" in which, "the pavilion has to be read separately so that it doesn't compete with Wright, but also has to participate in the compound of six elements (of the Martin House complex.)"

For example, proportions, structural relationships and geometries that Wright used in the Martin House are echoed in the pavilion design, such as in the dramatically cantilevered roof and pier system. But the inverted hip roof, which references the Martin House roof in scale and form, contrasts the historic building by turning the protective, sheltering element upward in a gesture of welcome to the public.

As well, the pavilion extends Wright's lifelong interest in innovation through the exploration of new materials, technologies and techniques.

- Ben Roberts, New Visitor Center at The Darwin D. Martin House Complex Opens to the Public On April 4, 2009

Climate Control Features: The air delivery system uses geothermal heat exchange for heating and cooling the building and is discreetly concealed in the building, acoustically insulating it.

- Darwin D. Martin House Complex Official Website: The Buildings: Visitor Center

Mori's specific area of interest is in materials and fabrication methods for architecture, using both new and traditional materials and techniques to integrate architecture with light and landscape.

- Ben Roberts, New Visitor Center at The Darwin D. Martin House Complex Opens to the Public On April 4, 2009

Guests entering the new Eleanor and Wilson Greatbatch Pavilion for Thursday's unveiling were treated to a sweeping side view of the Darwin Martin House Complex designed by Frank Lloyd Wright more than a century ago.

Seeing the entire layout through the pavilion's floor-to-ceiling glass wall was breathtaking - worth every penny of the $2.5 million the family contributed to the $5 million visitors center, said Ami Greatbatch, daughter-in-law of the inventor and his wife.

The unobstructed panoramic view of the complex, across a paved courtyard ringed by newly planted locusts, is enhanced by the pavilion's climate-control system. The 5,600-square-foot main floor is heated and cooled by convection from systems located below ground. No vents or pipes interfere with sight lines.

- Tom Buckham, Greatbatch Pavilion visitors center unveiled at Darwin Martin House On April 4, 2009

The powerful structure of the building is already evident, demonstrating Mori's great sensitivity to the tenets of Wright's Prairie designs: prominent, sheltering roofs, cantilevers that visually gather outdoor space into the composition, dematerialized walls that foster a connection between site and enclosure, and an open interior plan that promotes a profound freedom of movement and interaction within the building.

- Eric M. Jackson-Forsberg, Greatbatch Pavilion Takes Shape (Includes construction photo) On April 4, 2009

Special thanks to Assistant Director Lesley Neufeld and Curator Eric M. Jackson-Forsberg for their cooperation

Photos and their arrangement © 2009 Chuck LaChiusa
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