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Interpreting the Larkin ruin

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:04 am
by SDR
Patrick J. Mahoney, AIA, NCARB, a Buffalo, New York architect, a founding member of the Graycliff Conservancy
and its Vice-president, and a moderator here at the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy Wright Chat forum,
is responsible for the new interpretive features at the site of the former Larkin Company Administration Building.

Illustrated below are the recently-installed signage and improvements to be found there.



The glass structure is the phantom fence pier, built on the original foundations and part of the stone base. The inset is located on the City sidewalk (outside the fence; Larkin had another sidewalk inside the fence).
In colored concrete it graphically depicts the width of the Atrium. Another inset locates the original entrance to the admin building.



This panel is adjacent to the phantom fence pier and explains that the excavated area adjacent to the pier was the garden and sidewalk level of the administration building. Grade has been raise about 16 inches over the years.
The original Larkin fence base was a retaining wall that bridged the difference in height between the public sidewalk and the building grounds. Wright wanted the grade as low as possible to admit more light to the ground level of
the building. Seneca Street slopes up to accommodate the rail crossing and bridge that spans the tracks.



This is the final panel for this round of improvements. Note that the stainless steel stair connects the public sidewalk to a relatively new parking area, where a rail roundabout was originally located.


Posted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 9:41 am
by SDR
It appears that Frank Lloyd Wright lost no opportunity to extend the form and substance of a building to the corners of its building site. This massive pier, and the brick, stone, and iron fence which extends from it to its mate on Swan Street, are major examples of this tendency in Wright's work. Indeed, three of the four corners of the Larkin building's lot were equipped with these giant bookends . . .as shown on one of the new panels. ... sc&start=0


Posted: Sun Oct 30, 2016 12:47 pm
by Paul Ringstrom
Who paid for this and how much did it cost?

cost of interpretation

Posted: Sun Oct 30, 2016 2:31 pm
by pmahoney
Different portions of the interpretation had different budgets. The streetscape (new sidewalks, pavement, irrigation, lighting etc) cost around one million for this section of Seneca St. This does not include the boilers for the heated sections of sidewalks.

The interpretive panels themselves cost about one thousand dollars to fabricate, plus the cost of their steel bases and foundations.

The phantom pier and the excavation of the Larkin Garden were budgeted around $50,000 (but I have been told the actual number is well over that)

This was all paid for by the development Company that bought the largest portion of the Larkin Factories (as opposed to another developer who operates an office conversion of a Larkin warehouse). The name of the company that paid for the pier is Seneca Larkin Holdings.