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Robie House declared a Masterpiece (again)
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John



Joined: 25 Mar 2005
Posts: 405

PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 11:05 am    Post subject: Robie House declared a Masterpiece (again) Reply with quote

From Blair Kamin, Chicago Tribune:
"It’s a masterpiece. The word, often overused, fits. Let’s use it."

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/kamin/ct-biz-robie-house-restoration-kamin-0325-story.html
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 9505

PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seeing the dining room in full bloom, and the divider/bench installed by the fireplace, finally gives visitors an accurate view of what was accomplished in 1909. Time for a trip to Chicago.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 18134
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At last . . .

A surprise was to hear that Mr Wright "led a successful campaign to save" the house; I'd never heard that before, though the "entrusting anything spiritual " quote is famous.

Another surprise is mention of the "deeply raked mortar joints." I had only lately reconciled myself to the idea, supported by most photographs, that the bed mortar at Robie was in fact not originally so treated. Now I don't know what to think . . .

It's so fine to see the inglenook recreated, and the dining table and chairs back in place. I wonder what accounts for the difference---in the supplied photo---in wood tone between the dining set and the other woodwork in the room. Do the table and chairs bear their original finish ?

S
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 9505

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recall reading about that visit to Robie in the 50s. He didn't exactly lead an effort, he just paid a visit and commented to the press. He said that with just an updated kitchen, the house would be as relevant as ever.

The joints were raked throughout. However, the weather took its toll. Water would settle in the joints, freeze, expand and cause damage to the brickwork. At some time long ago, the house was repointed flush.

As I understand it, the dining room set went to a museum many years ago, and so was probably never refinished. Same with the couch in the living room. The rest of the woodwork in the dining room was recently restored. The original large cabinet was long ago removed.
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outside in



Joined: 29 Jul 2006
Posts: 1218

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

when John Vinci was working on the house in the 80's he found, much to his surprise, that the mortar joints were not raked as in Wright's other homes.
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 9505

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's odd. I recall a lecture by someone or other who claimed they were raked. There was also a docent in the 80s who said they were. But scrutinizing early photos in Don Hoffmann's book, it is obvious that they were flush.

Well, another anecdotal fairytale squashed.
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Rood



Joined: 30 Oct 2010
Posts: 1076
Location: Goodyear, AZ 85338

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In 1957 LIFE Magazine published, as I recall, a photo of Mr. Wright standing (leaning) against the house, but it was New York real estate developer William Zeckendorf who saved the house from destruction, when he offered to buy it for $102,000.00. For a time Zeckendorf's firm (Webb and Knapp) apparently used the house as their office, while overseeing work in Chicago. See:

http://www.hydepark.org/historicpres/robie.htm#1957

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Zeckendorf_Jr.
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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 6086
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Presently the vertical head joints (the Roman bricks nearly touch each other) are flush and tinted to match the brick, and horizontal bed joints are concave, tooled and gray. I assume this matches the original work?

https://pin.it/zjlvgmtaelsipr
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 18134
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that photo captures the consensus---both on the building, and among the various observers---of the brickwork at Robie,
and appears close to what's seen in vintage shots---more or less.

And an interesting contrast can be had between that surface and the one in a picture below it on the Pinterest page, presumably
of the Martin Complex masonry. Where Robie is a dark-and-light striped effect of one sort, at Martin the values are reversed---at
least under outdoor conditions---with the shadowed mortar bed reading dark against the lighter brick.



In either case, photos taken at various places on the buildings, under different lighting, produce a variety of effects.












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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 9505

PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Martin brick works better inside than Robie, as does the Dana brick.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 18134
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting. Maybe it's a good thing, then, that there's not a lot of brick visible in the Robie house interiors---on the main level, anyway . . . ?

https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/842252/Frank_Lloyd_Wright_Trust___Robie_House_Living_Room.jpg?p=publish

S
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DavidC



Joined: 02 Sep 2006
Posts: 7120
Location: Oak Ridge, TN

PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House Reopens | WayneBite Video - [1:00]


David
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 18134
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Screen shots from the WayneBite video present a number of novel views. One might be forgiven for thinking that the dining-room table lantern seen in close-up (#6) was a recently-made replica . . .

Two additional fireplaces present a puzzle for the novice; where are they located ? I suppose the first is in the lower-level reception room, and the second in the billiard room perhaps ?


1


2


3


4


5


6


7
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 9505

PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First fireplace is in the playroom, the second in the billiard room. The bedroom is the guest on the main level next to the living room. The last photo is the entrance looking toward the coat closet.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 18134
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And screenshot #1 must be the bookcase seen in the restored interior photo I linked . . . ?

https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/842252/Frank_Lloyd_Wright_Trust___Robie_House_Living_Room.jpg?p=publish

I don't care for those flat-head screws, clearly not countersunk, in photo #7 . . .

S
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