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Graycliff's Landscape Restored Wright

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Jul 19, 2013 01:05 AM
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by Eric last modified Jul 18, 2013

Reine Hauser, Executive Director of the Graycliff Conservancy, was kind enough to provide a little more info and photos on the recent restoration of the original Wright-conceived landscaping at the Graycliff Estate in Buffalo, NY. Read more after the jump... As stated in the press release: "The Graycliff Conservancy is pleased to announce that the recent project to restore Graycliff’s Historic Landscape is now completed. Grayciff’s historic landscape was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright himself,...




 

 

Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 7.36.19 AMReine Hauser, Executive Director of the Graycliff Conservancy, was kind enough to provide a little more info and photos on the recent restoration of the original Wright-conceived landscaping at the Graycliff Estate in Buffalo, NY. Read more after the jump...

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As stated in the press release:

"The Graycliff Conservancy is pleased to announce that the recent project to restore Graycliff’s Historic Landscape is now completed.

Grayciff’s historic landscape was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright himself, as part of his overall design of Graycliff which includes three buildings set within the landscape.  Additional designs were contributed by Ellen Biddle Shipman, known as the Dean of American Women Landscape Architects, as originator, during the early part of the 20th century, of the Arts & Crafts-style garden.

Work undertaken focused on what is known as “hardscape”—built aspects of the landscape, as well as “softscape” of plantings including trees, shrubs, plants and lawns.

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Hardscape restoration included the removal of a bridge from the cliff on which Graycliff perches, which connected to a stair tower leading to the beach below.  The bridge is now being stored elsewhere, until it can be restored and returned in the future.  This work was important to protect the stair tower itself, which was endangered by winter storms and ice along the Lake Erie.

A large irregularly shaped pool designed by Wright has been completely rebuilt.  Although it looks extremely natural, the pool was designed by Wright to echo Lake Erie itself.  The pool, and the fountain from which it flows, now has a double concrete liner, a new circulation system, and historically accurate plantings.  The work corrects the size and shape of the pool, prevents leakage and algae growth, and returns the pool and fountain to their condition as of mid 1931, the date of significance for the project.

This date was selected, after considerable research in a Cultural Landscape Report prepared by Heritage Landscapes, Inc. of Vermont and Connecticut, as the time when Graycliff’s landscape was at its peak, during the residence of Isabelle and Darwin D. Martin, who commissioned the property as their lakeside residence. 

Rehabilitation of the circle around the pool and the drive leading to it has also been completed.  Originally composed of crushed shale, (stained a warm yellow-orange as Wright specified, ) the circle and drive had been, in the intervening decades re-surfaced with black asphalt.  Because crushed shale would have prevented plowing during the winter months, created an inhospitable environment for the physically disabled, and meant tracking of shale dust throughout the buildings by Graycliff’s many visitors, the circle and drive are now composed of tinted concrete with exposed stone aggregate, resolving these issues while mimicking the original look.  Re-grading was also completed in this area.

Non-historic trees and shrubs were removed, while the contractors for this project, CatCo, carefully retained all original trees and shrubs, as requested by Pressley Associates, the historic landscape firm from Boston, MA that created the specifications (based on the research noted above)  and supervised the work.  Historic trees, shrubs and lawns were then planted. 

Funding for this major project was provided by New York State,  Andrew Cuomo, Governor and the New York State Legislature; The County of Erie, Phyllis W. Pierce, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Saperston Asset Management,  East Hill Foundation, The Western New York Foundation , Balbach Family Foundation, the Simple Gifts Fund,  the Cameron Brown Fund, Schichtel Nurseries,  Claire Schen and Greg Cherr,  and the Baird Foundation.

Landscape restoration can be seen during regularly scheduled tours of the Graycliff Estate. Visit the Graycliff website for details."

All photos via Graycliff Conservency


 

 

 
 
 

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