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Last Update : 2008/6/20
Currently 7 visitor(s) on-line
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Robie HouseVisits :
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5757 Woodlawn Avenue, Chicago
Frederick C. Robie House   (Click for enlarged view 80K)
Robie house was built on 1909. It was a masterpiece of Prairie style. Wright described it as "the corner stone of modern architecture". I totally agree.
Chicago Robie House
Robie House Front View
Robie house is a typical Prairie style building : Emphasized in horisontal, short and close to the ground, hipped and low-pitched roof that dramatically extended horizontally and broad chimney. The design was not like typical mirror-imaged architecture. It looked as if it was composed with toy bricks with different size and shape. However, the overall vision was incredibly harmonious.
Chicago Robie House
Robie House Rear View
Due to non-mirrored structure design, the building looked different as you walked and saw from different view angles. I also found that the build's exterior design was composed of almost extirely straight lines and right angles (or sharp angles) and there was no arc seen. The interesting thing was that it didn't look sharp or uneasy at all.
Chicago Robie House
Close Look
Frederic Robie was a young and successful businessman. "With unspoiled instincts and untainted ideals." as Wright described. He was just married and his young wife, graduated from University of Chicago , was still interested in campus life. They purchased this narrow lot and planned to build their home.

Maybe due to the limitation of such narrow lot, Wright successfully transform the shortcoming into the design of the house. Prairie style totally complimented and overcame the challenges from the shape of the lot and his ideas of bold horizontal lines really soared. I am no expert of Wright or architecture. However, based on what I saw during this trip, all of Wright's cornerstone buildings seemed to be borned from challenging conditions. Robie house is such case. Another example is Unity Temple.
Chicago Robie House
Close Look
Shot at the entrance. We actually missed the last tour of the day. We spent too much time in Oak Park thus we got here too late for the last tour. Since we can't extend our stay in Chicago, there was nothing we could do. What a shame!
Chicago Robie House
Art Glass Windows
Chicago Robie House The art glass windows. The complicated patterns made interesting contrast to the simple baselines of the house. The material of the glass, being transparent, shining and colorful, also made interesting contrast of the thick and heavy brick walls. Glass windows also made contribution to the brightness of living space. It should be very comfortable and healthy living in this house.
Living Space in Robie House   (Click for enlarged view 77K)
Although we did not have chance to join the tour, I found a spot that gave view of interior living space. This is the living room. On the other side of semi-open wall is the dining area. In fact what separates two areas is a fireplace which served two functions. Due to the semi-open nature and walls made by art glass windows, the space looked huge, open and bright.

The basic tone of interior design is similar to its exterior or other Wright design. It is composed of straight lines, rectangles and circles. It's simple but elegant.
Living Space in Robie House   (Click for enlarged view 64K)
Another view of the living space. We stayed here and tried to look at every corner until they closed.

Here is Robie House Tour Information.


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