The teenaged daughter of a good friend was coming to Chicago to visit the University of Chicago and asked me what else there is to see in Hyde Park.
As I put a list together it struck me just how much I love this town! Just look at the Robie House, designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright between 1908 and 1910 and located at 5757 S. Woodlawn in Hyde Park.
It is not only a National Historic Landmark, but the plaque in front seems to echo Wright’s own oversized ego when it says matter-of-factly that the Robie House is “…one of the most significant structures in the history of Architecture”(!)
We are so blessed to have the legacy of world famous architects all around us, yet this legacy is often unappreciated and even threatened. As recently as 1957 the Chicago Theological Seminary was going to tear the Robie House down to build a dormitory. This prompted a personal visit from the 90 year old architect himself, who famously said “It all goes to show the danger of entrusting anything spiritual to the clergy.”
The buildings of Louis Sullivan, another one of Chicago’s most famous architects, have also been threatened with demolition and several have been forever lost to the wrecking ball. It wasn’t until March of this year that a full length documentary on Sullivan was produced. The film was shown at the Siskel Center and then showings were scheduled all around the country.
I can only encourage everyone to take the time and seek out the works of these visionaries and appreciate the wonders that abound in Chicago.