Architecture of Buffalo, New York

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The Architecture of Buffalo, New York, particularly the buildings constructed between the American Civil War and the Great Depression, is said to have created a new, distinctly American form of architecture and to have influenced design throughout the world.[1]


According to The New York Times architecture writer Nicolai Ourousoff:

Buffalo was founded on a rich tradition of architectural experimentation. The architects who worked here were among the first to break with European traditions to create an aesthetic of their own, rooted in American ideals about individualism, commerce and social mobility.[1]

Larkin Administration Building[edit]

Frank Lloyd Wright's first commission in Buffalo was for the Larkin Soap Company of Buffalo. Chief executive officer Darwin D. Martin met Wright in Chicago and hired him to design a building that would house the large number of clerks needed to operate his mail-order business. Because the building would be located in an industrial part of town, it was necessary to make the building as attractive as possible to women, who made up the bulk of the white collar work force.[2]

Because it was Wright's first commercial commission, he took his task seriously.[3] He designed not just the building, but also the furniture, light fixtures and the china for the workers' cafeteria. Where possible, files and furniture were built into the structure, and he created desks with attached chairs that could swivel to save room. Wright included a pipe organ for lunchtime entertainment, a lending library and a conservatory to allow employees to rest and commune with nature. The clerks' desks were situated near large windows or in a brightly lit skylighted atrium for abundant natural light. Although there was no mechanical air-conditioning, Wright positioned the building so that it would capture cooling breezes from Lake Erie.

The Larkin Administration Building is significant for two reasons. Not only was it a comprehensive design, where every element performed a specific task, it was also the first modern office building that separated blue-collar and white-collar workers. The building was well received by critics and influenced design for the rest of the 20th century.[4]

The Larkin Company went out of business in 1937, and the building was sold. Eventually, the City of Buffalo took it over for back taxes, planning to demolish it for a trucking plaza. Despite community outcry, the building was torn down in 1950.[citation needed]

Darwin D. Martin House[edit]

The chief executive officer of the Larkin Company, Darwin D. Martin, was so impressed with Wright and his design for the Larkin building that he hired Wright to design his own house.[5]


File:McKinley Monument, Buffalo, NY - IMG 3702.JPG|[[Buffalo City Hall]] building's [[art deco]]

File:Darwin D. Martin House.jpg|[[Darwin D. Martin House]] by [[Frank Lloyd Wright]]

File:Kleinhans Music Hall.jpg|[[Kleinhans Music Hall]] by Eliel and [[Eero Saarinen]]

File:Buffalo&Erie County Historical Society.jpg|[[Buffalo History Museum]]

File:Prudential Building HDR.jpg|[[Prudential (Guaranty) Building]]

File:Asbury Delaware Church, Buffalo 1.jpg|[[Delaware Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church|Asbury Delaware Church]]

File:Buffalo Central Terminal 2.jpg|[[Buffalo Central Terminal]]

File:General Electric Tower.JPG|[[Electric Tower]]

File:Erie County Hall 2012.jpg|[[County and City Hall|Erie County Hall]]

File:Gates Vascular Institute.JPG|The Kaleida Health Gates Vascular Institute - a cube like design wrapped with [[modern architecture]] accents.

File:Brisbane Building.JPG|Brisbane Building

File:Buffalo Athletic Club.jpg|Buffalo Athletic Club

File:Old Post Office - Buffalo.JPG|[[Old Post Office (Buffalo, New York)|Old Post Office]]

File:Buffalo Psy Admin Building.JPG|[[H.H. Richardson Complex]] Administration Building


External links[edit]