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Frank Lloyd Wright’s Larkin Building

Myth and Fact

With a new Preface
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Larkin Building has become an icon of modern architecture. And the fact that it was demolished only forty-six years after its 1904 completion makes Jack Quinan’s study of the building—which housed a Buffalo, New York, soap company—all the more valuable. 

Quinan’s history draws on engineering documents, personal accounts of the building, and other papers he acquired from the family of Darwin D. Martin, a Larkin executive who proposed commissioning Wright to design the company’s offices. With access to these rare sources, Quinan reveals how a young Wright landed the commission and traces the evolution of his cutting-edge plans. Quinan then takes Wright studies to a new level, examining the Larkin Building as a structure at the center of economic and personal relationships. 

Illustrated with more than one hundred photographs, floor plans, maps, and diagrams, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Larkin Building provides a concise but complete record of how the building was conceived, built, evaluated, and finally demolished in what has been called a tragic loss for American architecture.

204 pages | 103 halftones, 15 line drawings | 8 1/2 x 9 1/4 | © 1987, 2006

Architecture: History of Architecture

Table of Contents

Foreword by Edgar Kaufmann, Jr.
1. The Commission
2. The History of The Larkin Company
3. The Evolution and Sources of the Design
4. Functional Aspects of the Design
5. The Message in the Building
6. The Critical Response
7. The Demolition
Appendix A: Darwin Martin’s Office Building Requirements
Appendix B: Darwin Martin Letter to John Larkin of January 7, 1903 refuting the Coss plan
Appendix C: Darwin Martin Letter to John Larking of March 20, 1903 reporting on Wright
Appendix D: Darwin Martin Letter to John Larkin of May 12, 1903 refuting the Heath plan
Appendix E: "The Inscriptions on the Court of the Administration Building"
Appendix F: Chronological List of Writings on the Larking Administrations Building
Appendix G: Frank Lloyd Wright, "The New Larkin Administration Building"
Appendix H: William Heath, "The Office Building and What It Will Bring to the Office Force"
Appendix I: George Twitmyer, "A Model Administration Building"
Appendix J: Marion Harland, "The Administration Building"
Appendix K: Russell Sturgis, "The Larking Building in Buffalo"
Appendix L: Frank Lloyd Wright, "Reply to Mr. Sturgis’s Criticism"

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