Frederick C. Robie House: Oak Park, Illinois. May 2002
Click Here to see the Robie house before it was under renovation.
The Frederick C. Robie house designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1908 is in the middle of a 10 year renovation project. At this point, the home is partially dismantled, but they're still giving tours of the house. We've visited the house every spring over the last 5 years and it has been interesting to see the progress done on the renovation. This is by far the most dismantled that I've seen the home. That made the tour even more interesting. We really got to see the inside construction of the house. Hopefully some of these photos will give you an idea of what we saw.
This is the front of Robie. It is completely fenced in with dumpsters out front and a lot of scaffolding around. The gift shop, located in the garage, is still intact and open for business.
This is the back of the Robie house. There aren't as many windows over here, but there is just as much constrution.
You can see that they've taken down the front wall that used to separate the house from the sidewalk. The wall provides great privacy, but it really needed to be removed to access the front of the house and so that it could be rebuilt. It had been sagging a bit at both ends.
This great view is of the main part of the house. The third floor has the bedrooms. I need to bribe someone to take us up there for one trip. It isn't allowed since there isn't a fire escape.
Look at the board and lathe that they're replacing under this eave. It is amazing that the cantilevers haven't sagged more noticeably. Unfortunately, there is a lot of water damage in the house.
Lovely dumpsters, but a good view of the mysterious third floor.
The "prow" of the house is being braced as the structure of the roof is rebuilt. This is actually where the current tour entrance to the house is. The door in use right now was originally a window, but since the original entrance had been changed numerous times by previous owners, it is going through some of the most intensive renovation.
This is another view along the front of the house. As much as anything, you can see how much work is going into the renovation. Donate money to these folks. They can use it to finish this project.
They've obviously done a lot to try to pretty it up for the Wright Plus 02 weekend.
The Robie living room is largely intact at this point. They lead the tour through it. You get to see the original windows. You'll also get a good view at the water damage in the house.
The ceiling is being braced up during structural repairs.
This is the entryway. Now do you understand why we entered the house through the prow?
This is the view from under the prow. You can see that it is completely dismantled at this point. It was fascinating to see the steel "I" beams that go the length of the house to hold up the cantilevers. The more I look at the structure, the more it it amazes me that this place never burned down. The original wiring was done by stapling burlap covered wires to the wall boards and then plastering over them. The original wiring is still intact through much of the house.
Thanks for joining me on this little trip through the Robie house renovations. We'll go again next year to see the progress. Please take the time to visit the Robie house and the Frank Lloyd Wright home and studio. Both are wonderful examples of Wrights work. The money generated from tours and donations helps to fund the renovation.
For more information, please see www.wrightplus.org.
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