July 9, 2001
The most fascinating thing about this house is its modernity. This was built in 1909 and looks modern by today's standards. Great modern artists of the time were experimenting with abstraction and cubism and the Robie house reflects this trend. Wright used several techniques to accentuate the horizontal nature of the house. He used roman bricks that were long and thin and he also used dark mortar to fill in the vertical spaces of the brick.
It is ironic that this house was sold by the Robie family only 18 months after they moved in and less than twenty years of its life has been spent as a residence. The house was then used by a religious order as a kind of dormitory and is now at the beginning of a 10 year restoration program. I am planning to come back at the end of the restoration to see how it turns out. They have a lot of work to do.
One other thing I would like to mention is there is no front door. The Robies were private people and Wright knew this so he designed the house with the door around to the back of the house. Was Wright making a comment about city life when he designed a house that could double as a fortress? I'll let you decide.
The cost of the house in 1909 was about $50,000. It is going to cost $7,000,000 to renovate and restore. Here is a link Robie House
From journal Chicago "Rules"