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Published on : Monday, July 31, 2017
If you’re passionate about American architecture, Buffalo might interest you. Buffalo has a long and rich tradition of architectural tourism, but upping that game this summer is the opening of Hotel Henry, an upscale hotel 3 miles north of downtown. It’s retrofitted into a hulking monolith built in the 1870s as the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane.
Local preservationists acquired the derelict property from the state and partnered with a local hotelier that has navigated National Historic Landmark restrictions to launch this modern structure. The hotel occupies a third of the asylum, which at peak capacity housed about 2,000 patients and staffers. Acres of green space abound outside the windows.
150 years ago, Henry H. Richardson was brought in to design the asylum. He is considered the first truly American architect. The Hotel Henry is named in his honor.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin house still stands out — a sprawling, low-slung two-story of Prairie School design. It is one of Wright’s first major projects in the eastern U.S.
The Martin complex holds the main house, two other original buildings and three reconstructions.
Though the Martin complex draws more than 30,000 visitors a year, it’s off the radar for many Wright fans because it was abandoned for a period.