Robie House will continue tours in spite of historical home restoration project

Frederick C. Robie House (Frank Lloyd Wright, 1908-10), 5757 S. Woodlawn Ave. – Courtesy of Frank Lloyd Wright Trust. Photographer: Tim Long

Staff Writer

The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust announced, Tuesday, Dec. 5, that the Frederick C. Robie House, 5757 S. Woodlawn Ave., will continue its public tours, in spite of a 14-month interior restoration project that would help restore the home back to its original appearance in 1910.

“Robie House is a groundbreaking Wright residence,” said John Rafkin, chairman of the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust’s board of directors and chair of the Robie House Restoration Committee, composed of Chicago area preservationists, architects and University of Chicago officials. “The Trust has a sound plan not only to restore the house, but also to ensure that it continues to be properly maintained in the years to come. We are very excited to bring this masterpiece back to its original glory.”

According to the Trust, the anticipated completion date is early 2019. The restoration project will include, plaster and coloration of walls and ceilings, woodwork and floor treatments, light fixtures and selected leaded glass windows and doors, rooms treated: which will include the main entry hall and stairway, billiard room, children’s playroom on the ground floor, the living room, the dining room and guest bedroom on the main floor.

In addition to the home’s restoration process, the Trust will also offer special in-depth tours with videos mainly showing the work in progress with features on its site and on the Trust’s website at

According to Trust, the major funders of the over $3 million project will include the Alphawood Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, the Meijer Foundation, the Tawani Foundation, the Viñoly Family Foundation, Richard and Mary Gray, and John and Jeanne Rowe.
During 2015-17, the Trust commissioned a series of analytic studies of the site to confirm the stability and fitness of its mechanical and structural systems and to research original interior plaster, color and wood treatments. 

Harboe Architects is the architect of record for the project and Bulley & Andrews is the general contractor. Karen Sweeney, preservation architect and the Trust’s facilities director, is the project manager.