21010 Robie™ House

  • Product no longer in production

Facts

  • Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Construction Type: Residence 
  • Cost: $60,000
  • Details: 841.9 m2 (9,062 square feet)  
  • Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • Materials: Steel beams and iron-spotted Roman bricks 
  • Style: Prairie
  • Year: 1908 - 1910

History

It is difficult, if not impossible, to discuss modern American or international architecture without mentioning Frederick C. Robie™House.

The actual geography of site itself helped determine Frank Lloyd Wright’s design. Measuring 18 meters (60 ft.) by 55 meters (180 ft.), the corner lot was three times as long as it was wide. These dimensions led Wright to think of the home in terms of two long, narrow rectangles. When viewed from above, the two rectangles are easy to see; however, from the street, each blends into the other, forming what looks like a single, continuous horizontal structure.

Robie House was one of the first residences to incorporate steel beams directly into its design. These strong beams in the ceilings and floors were necessary to create the cantilevered balconies, which appear to be suspended in mid-air. As the steel beams also carry most of the building’s weight, the exterior walls have little structural function, which in turn allowed Wright to fill them with large numbers of doors and windows.

The entire building fills approximately 841.9 m2 (9,062 square ft.). The front door and main entrance were deliberately hidden on the northwest side of the building beneath an overhanging balcony in order to create a sense of privacy.

Architect

In 1908, Frederick C. Robie, a young and ambitious Chicago businessman, decided he wanted to build a “sturdy, functional and strikingly modern” home for his family in Hyde Park, an elegant Chicago neighborhood and home to the campus of the University of Chicago.

Robie wanted a house with an abundance of light and great views of the surrounding neighborhood, yet one that also maintained his family’s privacy. He didn’t like small confining rooms and thought that flowing spaces were essential in a well designed home. In Frank Lloyd Wright, he found an architect who not only agreed with these ideals, but who could transform them into a unique physical expression.

Arguably America’s greatest architect and among the world’s most gifted, Frank Lloyd Wright was also a man of boundless energy. In a career that spanned over 74 years, he designed more than 900 works–including houses, offices, churches, schools, libraries, bridges, museums and many other building types.

No other architect took greater advantage of setting and environment. No other architect glorified the sense of “shelter” as Wright. “A building is not just a place to be. It is a way to be,” he said. Wright’s work–not least Robie House–has stood the test of time.