Glessner and Robie Houses

Click on the small pictures to see larger ones.

Glessner House

Glessner House

The Glessner house was completed in 1887, one year after the architect H.H. Richardson died, at the sadly young age of 48. It's certainly imposing, even forbidding, from the outside, but almost post-modern in its strong classically-derived details. The famous "Richardsonian Romanesque" semi-circular arch is here transmuted in a variety of ways to add variety and focal points to the otherwise very rectangular overall effect.

The interior is much warmer, informed by the Glessners' appreciation of the English Arts and Crafts and Aesthetic movements. The house was the family's winter home, so there is no landscaping to speak of outside or in the interior courtyard.

The front entrance. The charming servants' entrance on the side facade. High on the side facade, with Richardson's logo and the construction date. The attached stable block, with the decorative dovecote on high.

Robie House

Robie House

The Robie house was completed in 1910. Wright himself, in his usual modest way, called it "the cornerstone of modern architecture" (in 1957, when the house was threatened with destruction, and he was 90). Wright was always a great proponent of fitting a house into its site, and this house is the examplar of the Prairie Style, long and low to match the flat landscape. It marks the first residential use of steel beams, enabling the fabulous overhangs that would come into their full glory in his 1935 Fallingwater house.

The house from the front corner. A closer view of the "prow" which marks one end of the living room. A detail of the prow, showing more detail of the art-glass windows. A view of roofs, windows, and bricks, the major elements of the exterior.
Wright's entrances are sometimes not easy to find, and this one is a good example, approached from the back of the house, for privacy, and to leave the South or sunny side clear. A band of some of the fabulous art-glass windows, 174 in all, which adorn the house. Setting the windows in horizontal bands is a classic Wright/Prairie touch. A closeup of a window, showing nicely the iridescence, which is only visible from the outside.

These pictures were taken with a Canon G2 digital camera. Images were cropped, balanced, etc. with Adobe Photoshop Elements.

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