Robie House, designed in 1909 and completed in 1910, is considered to be the quintessence of Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie Style of architecture. It was built in Chicago's Hyde Park for the young manufacturing executive Frederick C. Robie and his wife Lora; the building is now property of the University of Chicago.

In sharp contrast to the Gothic university, the house is a low-slung structure with a dramatic flat roof overhanging balconies and sills, giving the house a strongly horizontal appearance. (Shocked neighbours thought it looked like a steamship.) It features many typical Wright features like a huge central fireplace and chimney and box-like segments separating the living and utility areas of the residence. It is also filled with art glass windows and doors which dissolve the divisions between the box-like rooms, making the house a masterpiece of light and transparency.

The house is open to the public, and is well worth a visit. Get information about it at

Just adding on to anthropod's good writeup above.

The Robie House is the triumph of Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie Style architecture. Construction on the residence began in 1908 and was finished the following year. It is a three-story, Roman brick house and unlike many Midwest homes, it does not have a basement. The bedrooms are on the 3rd floor. On the 1st (Ground) floor are the children's playroom, billiards room, garage, and entrance. The 2nd (Main) floor houses the dining room, kitchen, guestroom, and servant's quarters.

Like all of Wright's works, the Robie House adheres to his ideas of "organic architecture" by using a grid system and cantilevers. The west veranda is covered by a 10 foot long cantilever and looks seemingly unsupported. The overhanging parts of the home were design in such away that the art glass of the house barely hits the 3rd floor living quarters. The living and dining spaces are also aligned with one another, an example of unity in Wright's work. The Robie House also shares a trait found in all Prairie style buildings, the horizontal, raked mortar between the bricks that give the structure a sweeping feeling (anthropod's writeup explains this pretty well)

Early on, the local neighborhood dubbed the Robie House, "The Battleship," it is even believed that Wright had steel brought in from a Navy ship that was about to be scrapped to use in construction. The man who had the structure commissioned, Frederick C. Robie, only lived in the house for 2 years. The house is currently owned by the University of Chicago and is availible for tours.

Fredrick C. Robie Residence

5757 Woodlawn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60639


Storrer, William Allin. The Frank Lloyd Wright Companion.

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