Frank Lloyd Wright, Robie House, 1910, Chicago, IL, photo by Dan Smith, Creative Commons attribution license via Wikimedia Commons.

Frank Lloyd Wright: The Robie House

It’s hard to believe that Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built this modern home over 100 years ago.

The popular style of architecture at the time was the Edwardian style, which was slightly more pared down than the Victorian style, but very similar.  People must have been stunned to see Wright’s sleek, planar design in the midst of a residential neighborhood with heavy, ornate Victorian and Edwardian homes.

This is the earliest of his prairie style homes, named for the way the designs echo the horizontal lines of the flat prairie land in Illinois.  The hearth, which Wright considered the heart of every home, is at the center of the design.  All floors and roofs stretch out from the core fireplace by use of cantilevering, which supports the projecting structures with steel.  The cantilevering also allowed Wright to remove most interior walls and replace exterior walls with windows.

Wright, who designed this suburban home for Frederick C. Robie, intended to provide his client with light and warmth during the long, cold Chicago winters.  His solution was to put the main living area on the second floor where it would be warmer and open the wall for windows so it would be lighter.  Everything was designed with comfort and convenience in mind.  Wright designed nearly every last thing in this private residence including furniture, stained glass windows, light fixtures, dishes, and utensils.  (You can still buy many of his designs today.)

More images of the Robie House

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One Comment

  1. I’ve become slightly obsessed with FLW during the past year. My goal is to go on a pilgrimage to Oak Park and see his houses.

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