The Robie House, Wright’s Masterpiece

Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece of his Prairie Style is found in south Chicago.

I took a taxi from the Museum of Science and Industry west to this architectural icon, just on the border of the University of Chicago. I knew it was closed but I wanted to get a sketch in anyway.

This house is known as the Frederick C. Robie House and is a notable example of Wright’s Prairie-style. It was built between 1909 and 1910 and was commissioned by Fredrick Robie, a bicycle manufacturer. His tenure in the house was short lived. Financial troubles forced Robie to sell his dream house. It is now owned by the University of Chicago.

The Robie house is so well regarded that the American Institute of Architects named it as one of the top ten significant buildings of the 20th century.

When I arrived, I could see through the windows that there was a group touring the house, giving me hope that is was open, despite the closed sign on the gift shop. Nope, it was closed.

I took a position on a low brink wall, across the street from the Robie House on East 58th Street and I started my sketch.

As I was moving towards the midpoint of my sketch, the tour groups filed out and took up positions on either side of me and also started to sketch too! I assumed they were University of Chicago students taking an architectural class.

I felt a kinship in the brother and sisterhood of sketchers as we all sketched parts of the Robie House into sketchbooks, pads, and memories.

This is amazing piece of residential architecture. I hope to return one day, to see the interior.

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