Frank Lloyd Wright’s Graycliff: Boiler House & Garden Wall Restoration

Derby, NY, USA
Year Completed
Building Type
Graycliff Conservancy Inc.

The Graycliff Estate was designed and completed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1931 for Isabelle Martin, wife of industrialist Darwin Martin, as a summer home for the family on the bluffs above Lake Erie. In 1999, the Graycliff Conservancy was formed, and HHL Architects was engaged in the first official restoration task at the estate, which included work on the boiler house and garden wall.

The boiler house is located along the eastern property line between the Main House and the Garage (Foster House). Also referred to as the Heat Hut, it is the smallest of the three buildings on the historic property. Like the other two buildings, it is constructed of stone found at the lake’s edge, ochre stucco, and a red cedar shingle roof. The Garden wall, composed of the same stone and stucco as the other houses, connects the Garage to the Main House. The scope of work included some hazardous materials abatement, masonry repairs/reconstruction, wood framing and trim, exterior plaster, and cedar roof shingles. Investigation into original design and construction necessitated time both on site and visits to the University at Buffalo Archives. Research included studying construction drawings and specifications produced by Frank Lloyd Wright, and the examination of cataloged photographs and removals of non-original building fabric.