Harry Robinson's Work - Thoughts, Comments

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Posts: 180
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 8:11 pm
Location: Oak Park, IL

Harry Robinson's Work - Thoughts, Comments

Post by jhealy »

What do you all think of Harry Robinson's work? Has anyone ever been in any of his houses. I have seen the outside of many but never the inside.

Thanks to all who respond.

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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Harry F Robinson http://www.prairiestyles.com/robinson.htm

Not to be confused with Harry G Robinson III, dean of Architecture at Howard University. . .

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Post by pharding »

I have not been in any of his houses. I commend all of the work of the Prairie School Architects shown on the above website. In relation to a fine body of work by his peers on the above website, I find the work somewhat uneven. Taken as a group I admire the Hogan and Sons Development in River Forest. What hurts his projects, including some of his best work, is the lack of sensitivity with which the buildings have been maintained over the years. This is particularly true of some truly hideous replacement windows.

Mr. Wright's Prairie School work benefited from the publicity that FLW received particularly when he was on the cover of Time magazine, circa 1936 and subsequently over the balance of his career the exposure in Life, Look, and House Beautiful. The next generation(s) of homeowners were reminded that their house was designed by a great architect. I have a copy of a letter from E. Arthur Davenport to FLW on the occasion of Mr. Wright being on the cover of Time magazine. E. Arthur tells him how much he enjoyed living in his Wright designed house and that he fondly recalled working with FLW on the project. He was also pleased with the selling price which was twice what he paid for it.

Another benefit of this publicity to Wright homeowners was that valuable documentation was preserved and handed down from generation to generation. This has been invaluable in restoring many of Mr. Wright's early works. This has been particularly true in the case of the Davenport House. Unfortunately some otherwise fine buildings of the Prairie School Period by lesser luminaries suffered because, like Rodney Dangerfield, "they got no respect". I see this in some of the remaining buildings by Harry Robinson.

Posts: 180
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 8:11 pm
Location: Oak Park, IL

Post by jhealy »

Here is a website with some of H. Robinson's work in Naperville, IL.

http://www.mcnees.org/travelsite/trips/ ... ecture.htm


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Location: Battle Lake, MN

Harry Robinson's Houses

Post by dkottum »

Robinson's houses sure have the look of FLLW or perhaps Purcell and Elmslie on the outside, but the placement of the chimney is a curiousity.

Wright's houses of this type usually placed the fireplace in the center of the space. In houses such as Stockman, the simple square interior became distinct spaces for entry, living, dining, and kitchen with almost no need for further interior partitions. Similar condition in other types such as Davenport and Ingalls, and often in the Usonians, such as Haynes. The extreme use of this device would be Wingspread.

It would be interesting to see how Robinson arranged his interiors without the central fireplace, even after working in Wright's Oak Park studio.

Doug Kottom, Battle Lake

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Post by JimM »

jhealy wrote:Here is a website with some of H. Robinson's work in Naperville, IL.

HR was one of the most interesting figures, and it's fascinating to be reminded of the number of houses by Wright's contemporaries, and indeed, the shear number of commissions there were to go around. Most are decent buildings (some are even "outWright" as appealing as the masters). You walk through few neighborhoods today with architect designed houses (I'm not referring to the architects that work for developers!).

Still, it's no surprise few continued on as stellar a path as Wright. The difference between Wright and most others is still obvious. When you look at all of these houses in one sitting, it becomes clearer why Wright was getting uncomfortable with the scene.

What I really intended to comment on were the pictures of the restored exterior of the Robie House. For whatever reason they're the first I have seen, and it looks just incredible. What a masterpiece. Time constraints prevented me from getting there on my last trip, but nothing will the next time!

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