Friday, August 08, 2008

5 masterpieces - #5 frank lloyd wright's robie house

situated in hyde park on the campus of the university of chicago and gifted to the university and held in trust is frank lloyd wright's robie house. it was built in 1909 by a wealthy manufacturer (of bicycles, if i recall correctly) for his wife. for me, it was an awakening to lloyd wright and the entire arts & crafts movement and a marvelous example of how a living space should be thoroughly thought through and designed. 

the house, which is open for daily tours, has a ship-like quality, when you stand in the upstairs living room, looking out over the campus, it feels a bit like standing on the bridge of a ship. i love the feeling that creates. this house has definitely influenced my notion of good architecture.

the roof jutting out long past the windows reminds me of the opera house in copenhagen, designed by henning larsen, so lloyd wright's design notions live on in reinterpretation, as good architecture should. 

on all of his houses, he disguises the main entrance, so that where it appears to be from the street isn't where it really is. you might think the door is straight on, but then you'll find instead, when you approach, that it's to the left or right of where you thought it was. i love that and something i love about our house is that it has that quality (just by coincidence).

another striking feature of robie house and other of lloyd wright's other houses in oak park, are the dining rooms and the furniture he designed for them. he thought that the atmosphere around the table should be intimate and private, so he designed high-backed chairs like this one below to further enclose the dining experience. in his own home in oak park, the dining room is a rather small octagonal room that's very intimate. we once looked into having such chairs made, but abandoned the idea when we got the hans j. wegner Y chairs as a birthday gift to my husband. however, i still love the idea of creating intimacy around the dining table. 

i guess i did manage to stray from the paintings for one of these masterpiece-themed postings this week. it's always so much fun for me to see where i will end up with these little assignments that i give myself. it's never where i thought i would be when i started, but i guess life is like that.

1 comment:

studio wellspring said...

oh i adore frank lloyd wright's work ~ great post!