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“Visit the Home and Studio First”

Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House
Ranked #54 of 699 things to do in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Robie House on the University of Chicago campus is considered one of the most important buildings in the history of American architecture. It was created by Frank Lloyd Wright for his client Frederick C. Robie, a forward-thinking businessman. Designed in Wright's Oak Park studio in 1908 and completed in 1910, the building is both a masterpiece of the Prairie style and renowned as a forerunner of modernism in architecture. Tours of the site offer both a first-hand experience of its amazingly contemporary spaces and the current restoration work that is returning the house to its original appearance. Public tours are available Thursday - Monday. The museum is closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Social events and family programs are hosted on weekends throughout the year. Robie House is also available for facility rentals and special events. Visit the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust website to learn more.
Reviewed 6 April 2018 via mobile

The renovation doesn’t give the full FLW experience. Better served to see the labyrinth on full display so you can get a feel for what is happening in the construction area.

That being said it is mind boggling the attention to detail that went into so many features of the structure.

Thank Brian C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 April 2018 via mobile

If you are interested in Frank Lloyd Wright or American architecture this is a Must See. The renovations actually afford visitors the opportunity to see and understand the details of this Prairie Style masterpiece and the construction techniques of 1909 in ways that aren’t usually available.

The tours are well organized and the docents are knowledgeable and passionate about sharing and preserving the history of this place.

It requires navigating stairs and remembering to keep your hands off everything except the handrails but it doesn’t disappoint. And they were offering a return ticket for just $2 to come back later and see the progress. That’s a steal!

I liked the display of some of Wright’s chair designs that were included and I also liked the gift shop in the garage although I’d love to see what a 1909 three stall garage looked like.

Worth the time...leave your young kids (under 12) at home unless they are exceptionally interested and well-mannered.

Thank Bob E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 April 2018

I can see some recent reviews where visitors were disappointed with renovations. I have to say that the renovations are clearly stated on the tour's website. I discussed the renovations with my teenage son (who is super interested in architecture and FLW) and he was excited about the opportunity to see renovations taking place on a historic house. Most of the time, historic sites are closed when renovations take place so it is extra special to be able to tour it now!! The tour was awesome and our guide was very knowledgeable about FLW and the house. We cannot wait to return in the future to see the Robbie House in all its restored glory!

Thank Beth M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 March 2018

I wish we would have known about the renovations that appear to be ongoing until summer of next year? We only saw half the house, the other half of the house will be renovated next.

Other than only seeing half a house, it was very interesting and and impressive for the time period it was built.

Thank Luna K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 26 March 2018

Always wanted to see the Robie House and knew I'd be dealing with renovations. The good side is that most rooms are open, and without furniture, you really can concentrate on the lines, windows, and structure without having to carefully walk around untouchable objects. The bad side is that the living room is closed and work is clearly going on. The House was not really in original Wright condition before this renovation, though, so you are not missing a huge design insight, as you would have if, say, Fallingwater were under renovation and stripped of furniture..Now you get commentary about interesting things they have found (e.g., under all the "wrong" paint are some original colors that they will now be using in the renovation). Our guide was very knowledgeable and interesting, so I felt as if I had learned a lot about the history of the house, Wright's design decisions, and the task of renovation. A bonus was our guide's "extra" (for those who wanted it) commentary after the tour about the Univ. of Chicago building across the street, the Harper Center by Rafael Viñoly. It echoes many of Wright's design features and is worth visiting while you are there.

Net opinion: for your first Wright experience, something like Fallingwater will leave a bigger impression because it is a holistic design, which is what Wright always wanted to achieve. If you already appreciate Wright, you won't be disappointed by a tour of Robie. It is a fantastic Prairie House building and "one of the 10 buildings that changed America."

TIPS for Tourists: (1) Check online to make sure house is open the days you want to visit, given all the work being done; (2) interesting Seminary Coop Cafe and Bookstore is next door on Woodlawn; and (3) WATCH OUT if you buy the GO City Pass (I had a "build your own") for Robie House: you will get a discount but you won't be able to make reservations over the phone or online. To get tickets for the tour you will have to go there (preferably in the morning) and select an open tour time. Even now in an off-season a number of the tour times had filled quickly, so I can imagine this could be a problem during peak season. I didn't see any warning when I bought the GO City Pass, so it's a good thing I called and tried to reserve the day before, when I learned that I would have to go in person.

2  Thank JerseyJean
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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