Considered as the zenith of the Prairie Style, an architectural style indigenous to Chicago city and was primarily illustrated by its most acclaimed champion Frank Lloyd Wright, the Robie House is recognized as one of the most famous addresses in the entire world.
Frank Lloyd Wright was responsible for many of the beautiful residences in the suburbs of the Windy City which is most evident within Oak Park where his studio once stood from 1889 to 1909. In the process of making his own individual architectural trademark, he was enamored with the minimalist character and horizontality of the prairies found in the Midwest. The Prairie Style as created by Wright mirrored the natural splendor the prairies which he employed dor the houses he built around Oak Park. The first house that was constructed using this style was the residence of William H. Winslow located in River Forest and was built from 1893 to 1894. Wright mastered this style and in 1909, he designed the Robie House which was one of the last Prairie houses he conceptualized.
The Robie House was contracted in 1906 by Frederick C. Robie, a known Chicago motorcycle and bicycle producer. The house was finished in 1910 and the Robie family occupied the house until 1912 before selling it to Marshall D. Wilber. The Chicago Theological Seminary purchased the house in 1926 from Wilber and made it into a school. A proposal to tear down the house was put forward in 1957. Fortunately, real estate powerhouse William Zeckendorf came into the picture. He bought the Robie House in 1958 and in 1963, he donated the house to the University of Chicago. Then in 1997, the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust which was then known as the Home and Studio Foundation took control over Robie House. The Preservation Trust embarked on a 10-year renovation roadmap and it was finished just in time for the house?s centennial.
This architectural work of genius is marked by its horizontal lines highlighted by its roofs and lengthy Roman bricks. The crimson brick abode accentuated with limestone trimmings has an uneven configuration made of three individual parts seamlessly combined to form one house that has a uniform appearance and is also reflected in its interiors which was also conceptualized by Wright. Its elongated outcroppings which protrude up until 20 feet from its bases were made by utilizing long steel beams which during that time, unorthodox for residential properties.
Going inside, the Robie House boasts of an expansive minimalist and straightforward floor plan. A sole fireplace divides the living room from the dining room. Wright believed that architecture should be holistic; it does not stop with a beautiful exterior and that the interior should be as grand. This is why Wright also fashioned the furniture found in the Robie House. The most popular furniture item is the dining table which holds flower dishes and lamps on all corners. The tall dining chairs which feature balusters extending from top to bottom were especially made for the Robie House as well.
For those who want to visit the Robie House, it can only be done via guided tours arranged by the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust.