[graphic header] Chicago: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary, National Park Service
Frederick C. Robie House
Robie House, exterior
Photo courtesy of Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS).

In its May 1957 issue, House and Home magazine declared that "no house in America during the past hundred years matches the importance of Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House." Built in 1909, the Frederick C. Robie House stands as one of Wright's strongest statements in modern domestic architecture. As the foremost example of the Prairie House style, the house emphasizes free-flowing interior spaces, overhanging roofs, indoor recreational spaces and strong horizontal lines. The sensation of security and privacy in the interior is enhanced by the elevation of the principal rooms, one story above a raised basement. Another novel feature was that for the first time in American architecture, a garage was designed as an integral part of the whole building. These innovations, among others, set trends in residential architecture for the next 50 years and led to the Robie House being named a National Historic Landmark.

The original owner was Frederick C. Robie who hired Wright to design the house and furniture. The Robie family lived in the house for two and a half years. Two other families lived in it until the Chicago Theological Seminary bought the house in 1926. The Seminary threatened to raze the building in 1957 but was met by public protests. Webb & Knapp, a real estate development firm, bought the house and offered to donate it to any agency that would undertake plans to preserve it. The University of Chicago assumed that responsibility in 1962 and now owns the house in perpetuity. It works in cooperation with the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust, which is maintaining it and overseeing its restoration.

The Frederick C. Robie House is located at 5757 S. Woodlawn Ave. Tours are offered for a fee, weekdays at 11:00 am, 1:00pm, and 3:00pm, and on the weekends from 11:00am to 3:30pm--beginning every 30 minutes . For more information, call 708-848-1978 or visit the Robie House website.

 

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