Address: Summit Avenue and Jewett Parkway
City: Buffalo, New York
Darwin D. Martin commissioned Wright to design the Barton house for his sister, Delta, and her husband George Barton. A chief executive at the Larkin soap and mail-order company in Buffalo, New York, Martin would become one of Wright’s most important early clients.
Martin was introduced to Wright’s work during a visit to Chicago in 1902. Impressed by the houses he encountered in Oak Park, Martin engaged Wright in conversations about the design of his own house and the Larkin Administration building. He commissioned Wright to first design the Barton house in order to “better judge the consistency and practicability of Wright’s ideas.” It was under these conditions that Wright realized one of his first projects in Buffalo. Situated on the same property as Martin’s future residence, the Barton house was derived from Wright’s design for the Wasler house in Chicago. The plan was shifted and enlarged, however, and rather than constructing the house of stucco and wood shingles, Wright employed Roman brick and a tile roof. Martin and his wife, Isabelle, were closely involved in the design process and, despite the fact that the house was three times the cost of Wright’s initial quote, Martin continued to engage Wright as an architect.