Barton House

Buffalo, New York

Owner: Martin House Restoration Corporation

Project value: $2 million

Completed: November 2018

Architect: HHL Architects

Size: 5,000 sq.ft.

Built in 1903, the Barton House is the oldest structure on the Darwin D. Martin House complex. Martin commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to bring his Prairie-style homes to Buffalo, N.Y. for his sister and brother-in-law Delta and George Barton. Designing the Barton House marked the start of Wright’s Buffalo Venture.

The Barton House, one of six dwellings on Martin’s estate, hadn’t seen any improvements in the past 20 years, and little since being built. That changed, however, when HHL Architects researched and produced a Historic Structures Report and developed restoration plans for the over century-old home.

The leadership at the Darwin Martin House Complex brought Arc Building Partners on board to serve as construction manager on the project. The Arc team relied on their significant experience in historic preservation to execute the plans.

The Martin House complex has become a vital contributor to tourism as visitors travel from across the country and around the world. Completing the restoration of the Barton House was a vital step toward the full revitalization of the entire campus.

Arc Building Partners worked tirelessly to meet the demands to refurbish such an essential piece of Buffalo’s architectural history. The job called for Arc to update HVAC; upgrade electrical and security systems; replace stucco eaves; repair masonry and the chimney; re-wire original light fixtures and perform minor art glass restoration. Additionally, the team restored the verandah wood floor; replaced and repaired the original plaster and refinished interior woodwork and built-in cabinetry. Arc engaged multiple fine craftsmen and women as subcontractors to assist with the careful restoration of the house.

Wright’s original design for the Barton House was an upgraded version of his Joseph J. Walser House in Chicago. Followers of Wright’s work will notice the similarities and subtle differences. Wright used natural materials like brick, concrete and oak to build the home all those decades ago. His work, especially the Barton House, showed he was ahead of his time.

The $2 million Barton House project moves the historic Martin House complex another step closer to its full restoration. Arc Building Partners completed the project in November 2018. The firm is now working on the landscape restoration at the Martin House complex, which is an all-important final feature to be completed at the historic property. With the Barton House now restored, the complex will continue to attract visitors on a daily basis to appreciate the subtle beauty Wright inspired with his work.