Larkin Building
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Architect Frank Lloyd Wright
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Location Buffalo, New York   map
Date 1904 , demolished 1950   timeline
Building Type commercial offices
 Construction System brick masonry
Climate temperate
Context urban
Style Early Modern
Notes S.093. large four-story central atrium.




Detail Drawing

Plan Drawing

Plan Drawing

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Discussion Larkin Building Commentary

"Through Martin, Wright got the job of designing the Larkin Company administration building, the first entirely air-conditioned modern office building on record....[I]t is blocklike and extremely simple in its forms, and has very little ornamentation....the Larkin building was decisively vertical...Indeed, it was the first consciously architectural expression of the kind of American structure which Europeans were beginning to discover to their delight: the great clusters of grain silos and similar industrial monuments that men like Corbu and Gropius found so exciting in the early 1920s..."

— Peter Blake. Frank Lloyd Wright: Architecture and Space. p54-56.

The Creator's Words

"I think I first consciously began to try to beat the box in the Larkin building [Wright said years later]. I found a natural opening to the liberation I sought when [after a great struggle] I finally pushed the staircase towers out from the corners of the main building, made them into freestanding, individual features."

— Frank Lloyd Wright. from Peter Blake. Frank Lloyd Wright: Architecture and Space. p55.

"It is interesting that I, an architect supposed to be concerned with the aesthetic sense of the building, should have invented the hung wall for the w.c. (easier to clean under), and adopted many other innovations like the glass door, steel furniture, air-conditioning and radiant or 'gravity heat.' Nearly every technological innovation used today was suggested in the Larkin Building in 1904."

— Frank Lloyd Wright. from Frank Lloyd Wright, Edgar Kaufmann, Ed. An American Architecture. p137-138.

Sources on Larkin Building

Roger H. Clark and Michael Pause. Precedents in Architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1985. repetition diagram, p173. grid geometry diagram, p194.   Updated edition available at

Edward R. Ford. The Details of Modern Architecture. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1990. ISBN 0-262-06121-X. LC 89-31772. NA2840.F67 1989. drawing of wall section detail, p198. Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, drawing 0403.083. [MW]   Highly recommended for serious observers, and available at

Bruce Pfeiffer. Frank Lloyd Wright Drawings. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Publishers, 1990. exterior perspective drawing, p237.

William Allin Storrer. The Frank Lloyd Wright Companion. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1993. ISBN 0-226-77624-7. LC 93-30127. NA737.W7A4 1993. plan drawing.   Available at

Marvin Trachtenberg and Isabelle Hyman. Architecture, from Prehistory to Post-Modernism. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1986. fig 790,791, p503-505.   Available at

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about Larkin Building


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