Jack Quinan, University at Buffalo
Most of us know Jack Quinan through his exemplary monographs on the Larkin Building and the Darwin Martin house. Through his writings, Jack is recognized as a leading authority on the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. But his commitment to the subject extends well beyond scholarship. Shortly after arriving at SUNY Buffalo in 1975, Jack became a central figure in the protracted effort to rescue the Martin house, which was in deteriorated condition and faced a bleak future. After averting the property’s transfer to the state office of mental health, he helped organize the Martin House Restoration Corporation and has served as curator and a leading member of the board. In the past two decades, the corporation has undertaken extensive restoration of the house, acquired the adjacent Wright-designed buildings, and has reconstructed the pergola, carriage house, and conservatory. Moreover, the limited competition held for a new visitor center yielded an exceptionally synergistic design by Toshiko Mori. As a central figure behind this nearly forty-year effort, Jack has been instrumental in saving one of Wright’s major buildings and in creating models for restoration, reconstruction, appropriate new design, and stewardship.
In the early stages of this ambitious campaign, Jack convened a conference involving curators, architects, and historians to address the challenges of preserving and interpreting Wright buildings. This gathering led to the formation of the Frank Lloyd Building Conservancy, which now boasts some 800 members. Among the most recent and most publicized of the many successful cases it has led was rescuing the David Wright house in Phoenix. Jack has always played a leading role in the organization’s activities. He also was SAH’s secretary from 1989-93. Jack recently retired as SUNY Distinguished Service Professor after an illustrious teaching career, where his integral approach to scholarship and activism has inspired generations of students as well as many others in the community. We are all the beneficiaries of his insight, wisdom, and persistent dedication.