The Chicago landmark, the Robie House, continues an impressive $11 million restoration. The house was designed and built by the legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1910 and stands on the grounds of the University of Chicago in Hyde Park.
The house is named for the original owner, Frederick C. Robie. Unfortunately, Robie had to sell the place after living in it for less than two years to pay off debt’s left behind by his father who had passed away.
The long and angular lines are considered to be the perfect expression of Prairie Style architecture. Wright was intimately familiar with the great prairie and the prairie itself was just outside the front door of the Robie House when it was originally completed. The giant cantilever roof that is perched above a porch on the second story was one of the legendary architect’s most famous signatures. The long vastness of the prairie seems to be so elegantly captured by the house. Wright’s building’s always sought to be one with their surroundings. The interior of the house is undergoing some serious renovation and is barely even recognized as an interior. Official restoration was begun in 1997 by the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust and looks to continue for some time. The project hopes to restore it to its original interior.
Wright was adamant about large spaces that opened up and flowed into one another and the Robie interior reflects that vision. Natural light, geometric designs and reflections, and art glass were also other techniques and materials that Wright loved to employ. The Robie House is truly Wright everywhere.
Twice the house was nearly demolished. The 1957 attempt actually found Wright at the scene. His bold and telling response was they could not possibly destroy the house any more than they could destroy a great painting. It was because, Wright declared, the house was more important than any painting could ever be.