Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Martin-Wright Thanksgiving Chronology

1621: The Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians share a harvest feast

1623: The aforementioned hold the second Thanksgiving feast (to finally finish the leftovers from 1621?)

1789:  President George Washington makes the first proclamation of Thanksgiving by the United States government

1863:  In the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln calls for a "National Day of Thanksgiving"

1865: Darwin Martin is born in Bouckville, NY

c. 1873  Darwin Martin is attacked by a "bull turkey" in Nebraska

1867: Frank Lloyd Wright is born in Richland Center, WI

1893: "Lieber Meister" Louis Sullivan calls Wright a turkey (among other names)

1903-05:  Wright and Martin collaborate to create some buildings in Buffalo, NY

1934:  NBC radio broadcasts the first Thanksgiving Day football game (Lions vs. Bears), giving Americans everywhere a new form of turkey-day entertainment

1941:  FDR signs legislation officially making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November

2010:  The Martin House Restoration Corporation adds additional Thanksgiving weekend tours to help entertain your in-laws

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cottage Industry

The MHRC is pleased to announce its publication of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Gardener’s Cottage at the Martin House Complex, a new book on the Martin family gardener’s cottage (1909), part of the Martin House Complex.  Written and produced by Karen J. S. Tashjian, AIA, the book is the first-ever publication exclusively about the smallest and simplest structure in the array of Wright buildings at the historic site.
Tashjian’s book is comprised of a visual essay of images accompanied by short quotations, primarily by Wright himself.  Tashjian’s photographs document the house through the eye of a painter and compel the viewer to take a closer look at the building’s details.  The quotations invite the reader to contemplate the ideas behind the physical reality of the structure.   The book also includes an essay on simplicity, and a history and dialogue on the issue of authenticity as it relates to the expanded and renovated cottage.

Tashjian’s inspiration for the book came from visiting the site as a tourist "in her own backyard.”  As she describes this experience:  “I was enchanted by the richness of this small structure.  It demonstrates many ideas which I believe are essential to good design, as well as qualities of a small structure that make it graceful rather than confining.  As interior photographs are not permitted, I went to purchase a book on the cottage so that I might linger in some of these spaces.  There was no such book available, so at that moment this book was conceived: a small volume about a small Frank Lloyd Wright structure.”

Frank Lloyd Wright held many philosophical beliefs about materials, light, circulation, and spatial experience that inspired his work.   All of these ideas are evident, to varying degrees, in the gardener’s cottage.  Though the spaces are small, they are rich haptically, inviting interaction and the imprint of experience, rather than detached observation. 

The author will be signing books from 10 am to 2 pm during our Holiday Sale at the Wisteria Shop on December 4.

Here's an interesting blog post which contemplates the Gingko tree and it's role in Wright's Prairie-period plant inspirations - from Budge Gierke, via PrairieMod.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Digital Cathedrals

Blake Carrington:  Cathedral Scan / Asbury Hall @ Babeville / Wednesday Next

I think this performance promises a unique and all-too-rare dialogue between architecture, digital media and performance...

Wright? Wrong.

Multiple parties have asked us over the past few days about a piece of art glass that's up for auction in December, via Morphy Auctions of Pennsylvania.  The piece is attributed to Frank Lloyd Wright, and came from "a residence in upstate New York," leading some to speculate that it may have originated from the Martin complex.

Well, don't start bidding just yet.

This window is, without a doubt, not from the Martin House, Barton House or any other building in the complex. I would also add, with almost total certainty, that it does not hail from the Heath House, the Boynton House, or any other Wright building in upstate New York.  Or downstate New York, or the United States... In other words, I don't think it's a Wright design at all, and I suspect that Morphy is playing fast and loose with this attribution in hopes of a more lively auction.

The pattern does seem inspired by Wright windows, and bears some resemblance to some of the Martin windows, particularly in the top and bottom segments.  But the series of Klimt-like triangles that march up the center of the composition introduce an awkward geometry that's just not "Wright." 

Caveat emptor.   

Friday, November 5, 2010

It's a Matter of Trust

If you haven't see it, be sure to check out Buffalo:  This Place Matters, featuring the MHRC's own Mike Osika, restoration architect Ted Lownie, and a fleeting cameo by UB School of Architecture and Planning Dean and man-about-town, Brian Carter...

Thanks to the CVB for producing such an amazing portrait of Buffalo!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Pink Floyd Wright

The Martin House has made the number four spot on the "Ultimate Frank Lloyd Wright Tour," posted recently on the Huffington Post.

Now, if you can overlook the curious misspellings of various sites (Taliesen, Falling Water, etc.), this is pretty cool!  

Perhaps due to the creative spelling, the Post's post inspired one follower to comment:  Oh, for a minute there I thought they said "Pink Floyd Wright." Those would be awesome houses too.

See you on the dark side of the pergola...