Robie House Floor Plan | A Scandalous Abomination In Hyde Park

February 7th, 2018 by 6FjUhLbu

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By Rebecca Welch

A scandalous abomination now known as the Robie House was completed in 1910. It was a horrible eyesore to the neighbors in Chicago. The Robie house floor plan was the culmination of Frank Lloyd Wright’s ability to think outside the box. It was Prairie style architecture at the height of it’s expression and clashed outrageously with the Gothic manors lined up in Hyde Park at the turn of the century.

The Robie House floor plan, named for its original owner, was the expression of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie Style architecture at its most expansive and expressive. With its low pitched roof cantilevers that hung over literally dozens of oddly sized balconies, it was an outrage to Chicago’s high society Hyde Park neighbors. The hidden front door reached down an alley and rooms radiated from a central fireplace. Bricks were laid in a pattern that highlighted the stretched-out horizontal feel and the living room is on the second floor rather than the main floor as would be expected of most homes.

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The Robie House suffered more indignities than just the disdain of the Hyde Park neighbors over the course of its life. Used for a dorm and dining hall for the Chicago Theological Seminary from 1926 to 1959, it was nearly demolished twice to make room for a more normal style dorm. Frank L. Wright, who was in his 90s at the time, protested so loudly that it was spared. Registered as a National Historic Landmark in 1963, demolition of the Robie House floor plan was a subject never raised again.

The floor plan of the Robie House is eccentric to say the least. The interior space speaks to Mr. Wright’s meticulous attention to design detail. The living room is tapered into a prow not unlike a boat with lighting divided into a “sun” type globe fixture in a wooden frame as well as a “moon” fixture located behind panels. The second floor balconies lining an entire side of the house were deteriorating rapidly, which is an unfortunate effect of Wright’s outrageous designs requiring frequent restoration.

For those who would like to visit the Robie House, it’s located on the University of Chicago campus at the corner of Southwood Lawn Avenue and 58th Street. Guided tours are conducted on weekdays every 15 minutes between 11 a.m and 3:30 p.m. Cost is $9.00 for adults and $7.00 for children and senior citizens.

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