Restoring The Robie House

Robie House 1

 

I was estatic to hear that the Robie House desgined by Frank Lloyd Wright is going to be restored. I am a big Frank Lloyd Wright fan and have been studying his work for years. For most people and architects, architecture is about aeshetics. Without question, aesthetic is an extremely important part of architecture. It is said that Frank Lloyd Wright’s career evolved through 3 major stylistic periods, but his architecture was deep-it was about more than style. From concept to the most miniscule detail, everything was carefully thought out and planned. Frank Lloyd Wright did more than design buildings. He created experiences that moved people, changed their lives and connected them to Nature. The comprehensive aspect of his work is what makes him an icon and the reason I and so many others find it invaluable to study his work.

A few months back a PBS channel was added to my Roku media player. I went ahead and installed the channel, scrolled through the library of videos and found a documentary called  “10 Buildings That Changed America.” Naturally, I had to watch it. The Robie House was one of the 10 buildings. The Robie House was designed in 1908,completed in 1910 and is conisiderd a Prairie Style House (first stylistic period) along with Frank Lloyd Wright’s other early works. Frank Lloyd Wright summerized the Praire Style in the following way:

“The prairie has a beauty of its own and we should recognize and accentuate this natural beauty, its quiet level. Hence, gently sloping roofs, low proportions, quiet sky lines, suppressed heavy-set chimneys and sheltering overhangs, low terraces and out-reaching walls sequestering private gardens”

Looking at the Robie House you can see these words in the building. The house is stunning from the exterior. During this period all of Wright’s interiors were elegantly detailed with millwork and often with custom stained glass windows. What made the Robie House revolutionary was how Wright created a free flowing plan that let spaces blend together. At that time houses had very formal plans and rooms were defined by four walls with punch openings to pass through. In every room a person would feel like they were living  in a large box. The plan for the Robie House destroys this by allowing spaces to flow together, creating a sense of freedom and openess. Today this idea of an open floor plan has become more or less the norm for most residences. The seeds for living that Wright planted at Robie House  led to the ranch house that so many people live in today. The PBS documentary does a decent job illustrating this. You can view the documentary online: 10 Buildings That Changed America

 

Robie House

 

The restoration project is being led by the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust. You can read more about the preservation project in an article written by Daniel Terdiman: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13576_3-57592586-315/restoring-frank-lloyd-wrights-marvelous-robie-house/

 

For more info about the Robie House and to see how you can help go to:

http://www.gowright.org/research/wright-robie-house.html

 

 

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