American architect, he established his own practice in Minneapolis, MN, in 1873, where he was immensely successful, designing numerous buildings in several styles, notably Queen Anne and the round-arched style for which Richardson became famous. His mansion for Charles Pettit (1874) was much influenced by the style of Visconti's and Lefuel's additions to the Louvre in Paris (1852–7), and by Hunt's house for the Wet-more family, Newport, RI (1872–3). His designs for the West Hotel (1881–4—destroyed), the Pillsbury ‘A’ Mill (1880–3), and the Pillsbury (1887) and Gale (1888) residences, all in Minneapolis, received much attention. Buffington invented (1880–1 and 1883–4) a system of metal skeleton construction to make the building of skyscrapers (he called them ‘cloudscrapers’) possible: in 1888 he patented it, but most of his attempts to claim royalties through litigation were unsuccessful.
Art Bulletin, xx (1935), 48–70, and xxvi (1944), 3–12, 267–76;Jane Turner (1996);E. Upjohn (1935)
Subjects: Architecture — Art.