frank-lloyd-wright-architecture-the-robert-m-lamp-house-1903

Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture: The Robert M. Lamp House, 1903


Frank Lloyd Wright, born in 1867 in Richland Center, grew up in his home state of Wisconsin. In 1903, he constructed a home for his boyhood friend, Robert “Robie” M. Lamp; not to be confused with the famous Robie house in Chicago built for Frederick C. Robie later in 1909. Mr. Lamp was a local Madison, Wisconsin area insurance salesman and realtor. The Robert M. Lamp house is unique in the fact that it does not feature the same typical Prairie style details that are found in several of Wright’s other designs build during that same year.


Early Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture: The Robert M. Lamp House in Madison, Wisconsin

Originally, when the Lamp home was first built near the turn of the 20th century, it featured fantastic views of both local lakes: Lake Mendota and Lake Monona. These views were, in fact, why the home was built on the location in the first place. Unfortunately, today, these views are hidden as the house is enclosed on all four sides by other buildings that have popped up as the city grew in size and population.

Visitors who are seeking out the historical landmark today may find it is rather difficult to locate. This is simply due to the complexity of the surrounding area as it is today as well as the number of other buildings that have popped up around it.

The exterior of the home, which is Roman brick painted white, is often described by onlookers as being a “simple, boxy shape.” Wright himself, described the Lamp house as a “cream-white brick house” that was completed by a “roof-garden filled with flowers;” according to the Wright in Wisconsin organization. The exterior of the home also features diamond paned casement windows, which recent pictures show, have red trim.

As noted above, the original structure featured a greenhouse and a roof-top garden. However, like with many older homes, alternations and additions have been made to the building, including a playroom that was added to the roof in 1913; which later would be converted into a makeshift penthouse.

The Robert M. Lamp House Today

On January 28th, 1976, the Robert “Robie” M. Lamp house was designated a historic landmark by the Madison Landmarks Association.

As expected, the home has changed owners throughout the years, but has respectively remained a private residence. Though it is located in a densely populated area, it is still important to respect the privacy of the current owners, as well as any future owners.