Friday, March 26, 2010

Another Accolade for Greatbatch

Adding to the laurels already bestowed on Toshiko Mori's Eleanor and Wilson Greatbatch Pavilion - awards from the Western New York Chapter of the AIA and the Structural Engineers Association of Illinois - the AIA New York Chapter has announced that the Pavilion is an Honor winner in its 2010 Design Awards.

Mori's design will share the limelight with other outstanding architectural projects at the chapter's upcoming Design Awards Luncheon and Exhibition at the New York Center for Architecture.  Among them are projects by Steven Holl Architects (Knut Hamsun Center,

Sharing the stage with projects in Europe, Asia and South America, the Greatbatch Pavilion is truly a world-class building.  And, believe it or not World, it's in Buffalo.    

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Postmodern prophet Richard Meier, with friends in the conservatory

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wright's Women

 Jim Koenig, Cub Reporter

Recently, NPR rebroadcast an interview with T.C. Boyle on his historical novel The Women, an account of Frank Lloyd Wright’s notoriously bizarre and complicated love life. Boyle himself, much like Wright, is notorious for self-promotion and a love of the limelight, which works well in painting a portrait of Wright through the women of his life. Adding to his Wright-specific credentials, Boyle currently lives in a Wright-designed house, the George C. Stewart house in Montecito, California (1909). Although the topics of Kitty, Mamah, Miriam, and Olgivanna in the interview often sound like a series of National Enquirer headlines, it’s true that Wright may have been the Paris Hilton of his time when it came to media attention.

The Buffalo connections cited throughout the interview are numerous. We find that Boyle is married to a Buffalo native, has visited the city many times, and has even been to the Darwin Martin House!  Additionally, the Martin House is kindly mentioned by a caller from Buffalo, who commends the efforts to restore the Martin House Complex to its original grandeur. Both have great things to say about the site and its place within the Wright’s career. It feels great to bask in some of the publicity that Wright and Boyle always garner!

A recording of Tom Ashbrook’s interview with T.C. Boyle can be heard at

Thanks to John Kociela and Cherie Messore for the tip. 

Friday, March 12, 2010

Remembering Ruth

A chapter of Martin House history came to a close when Ruth Tauriello passed away on February 25, 2010.  

One of Ruth’s proudest achievements was working with her husband, architect Sebastian (“Bill”) Tauriello, to stabilize and preserve the long-neglected Martin House in the late 1950s and early 60s.  Together, they saved the main house from the wrecking ball and paved the way for the ambitious restoration underway today.  

Extended family, in town for Ruth's Memorial service last week, gathered for a tour of the Martin House, and I had the honor and pleasure of taking them through.  Two of Ruth's children, Ann and Bill, who had grown up in the house, took the opportunity to reminisce about the familiar spaces, and marveled at the transformations those spaces have experienced through recent restoration.  Many poignant moments arose as the family re-connected with their former home; we all enjoyed the opportunity to honor Ruth's memory by revisiting the house that she loved.  

L to R:  Jim McPherson, Ann (Tauriello) McPherson, Bill Tauriello, Lisa McPherson, Mark McPherson.


Surrounded by Art

Surrounded by Art:  Photographs of Buffalo Architecture, an exhibition of images of Western New York's built environment by Biff Henrich, opens today at the Buffalo Niagara Visitor Center Gallery - on view through April 17.

[Above:  Martin conservatory /  Below:  Barton House interior by Biff Henrich]

For over two  decades, Henrich has been the "unofficial official" photographer for the Martin House Complex, capturing the changing face of the historic buildings as restoration has proceeded.  His images of the Martin House and other Buffalo landmarks such as the Richardson Towers and new Burchfield Penney Art Center have been featured in prominent publications and exhibitions too numerous to name.  He has also been the photographer of choice for the art glass of the Martin House Complex;  beginning in 1998, he created patient, exacting images of these stunning "light screens," now featured in the book Frank Lloyd Wright Art Glass of the Martin House Complex (Pomegranate, 2009).

Surrounded by Art is comprised of twenty exquisite photographs of Buffalo architecture, including Henrich's image of the Martin House conservatory and serene images of the Guaranty Building, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and - site-specifically for the Visitor Center Gallery - the Market Arcade atrium itself.

Many of these images are offered annually in Henrich's Buffalo Pictorial calendar - the SI Swimsuit issue equivalent for architecture lovers...
   Honey locust branches etch shadows onto a pier along the Martin House driveway.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hey, sometimes this museum thing is really neat! 

- exclamation by New York State Bureau of Historic Sites Furniture Conservator David Bayne, standing in the Greatbatch Pavilion, enjoying the panorama of the Martin House Complex bathed in late afternoon sun, March 3, 2010.

Bird's Eye on Parkside

This remarkable, bird's-eye view of the corner of Jewett Parkway and Summit Avenue comes to you courtesy of Bing Maps, the latest web-based, 3D mapping tool.  The image is up-to-date, showing the restored Martin House Complex and Eleanor and Wilson Greatbatch Pavilion in the context of their neighborhood.  

Such imaging allows you to see the spatial "dialogue" between the Pavilion and the complex of Wright's buildings, enfolding space within the campus-like site and the gently-curving streetscape of Parkside.  The image also offers perspective on the Martin House site's relationship with the older structures of the Church of the Good Shepherd, the Wicks House and 143 Jewett.  But, given the historical referents of those buildings and their at-attention stance with regard to Olmsted's neighborhood, the "dialogue" between them and the Martin House / Greatbatch Pavilion might be described as "talking past one another," rather than having an intimate chat.  

Until George Stock builds that small dirigible he's been talking about all these years, Bing Maps (or its equally impressive counterpart Google Earth) will have to suffice for your aerial perspective needs.