Barton House - Table of Contents .............. Darwin D. Martin House Complex - Table of Contents

Exterior - George Barton House
Darwin D. Martin House Complex
118 Summit Avenue, Buffalo, N.Y.

Visitor, Rental Information

Designed: 1901
Built 1903
Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
Style: Prairie

TEXT Beneath Illustrations

2002 photos

Facade on Summit Street   ...   Two-story Prairie style house

Gray concrete wall in front of steps is temporary   ...   Bricks from the original wall were used to repair Martin House   ...   About 400,000 new Roman bricks will be needed to repair both Barton and Martin houses and rebuilding of the missing elements - the Pergola, Conservatory and Carriage house/garage

Replacement terra cotta on verandah roof tiles imported from France

One-story verandah on the south side of the house emphasizes horizontal lines of the house   ...   Note massive verandah supports   ...   Hipped roof

Front entrance somewhat secluded by wall - typical Wright   ...   2nd story: stucco; 1st story: Roman brick

Back of verandah and entry hall facing Summit Ave.

Northwest front of house on Summit Ave.

Wide soffit under projecting eaves   ...   Band of art glass  casement windows   ...   Roman brick

Banded windows

The art glass window design on all the Barton house windows


The Barton house, the first of Frank Lloyd Wright's Buffalo buildings to be completed, was built for Darwin Martin's sister, Delta Martin Barton, whose husband, George, worked for the Larkin Company. The floor plan is based upon Wright's 1902 Walser house in Chicago.

Its low profile reflects the expansiveness of the American prairie. Wright's use of unadorned natural materials -- brick, concrete, and oak -- reflected an organic approach.

Wright wrapped a continuous band of windows across the front (and rear) of the house and around the corners of these bedrooms to create an illusion of expansiveness.

The subordinate axis of the house consists of an open porch on the south with an abbreviated kitchen projecting to the north. Although this section contains very little usable living space, its function as a counterpart to the height and mass of the two-story part of the house should not be underestimated. Wright repeatedly experimented with cross-axial plans in order to lower the of his houses and extend them farther into the surrounding landscape.

The room dimensions of the house are small, but the effects of space are maximized throughout the design. The principal living spaces are concentrated in the two-story portion of the house, where the living, dining, and reception areas open freely in to one another as discrete subdivisions of a continuous space. In contrast, the two major bedrooms on the second story are located at the opposite ends of a narrow corridor.


Special thanks to Margie Stehlik, Director of Volunteers for the Martin Complex, for her cooperation and patience.
Photos and their arrangement 2002 Chuck LaChiusa
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