within the graceful tradition of Tuscan Romanesque.

Given the Florentines’ admiration for anything of classical Rome, it is hardly surprising that the Foundling Hospital is replete with classical motifs. The loggia, doubtless the most familiar aspect of the building, is drawn from the porticoes that surrounded the Roman forum; like most Roman temples, it stands on a platform above the general level of the piazza. Slender columns, with Brunelleschi’s version of Corinthian capitals, support a light, cross-vaulted arcade (incidentally, constructed without scaffolding). Classical moldings abound, and there is an entablature of shallow classical profile. The rectangular upper-story windows have triangular pediments, and the facade is crowned with a classical cornice. The elements of the loggia—indeed, most of the building’s exterior—are defined with the beautiful gray-green stone known as pietra serena. The round-arched loggia was a familiar element in fourteenth-century Florentine buildings, including hospitals, and Tuscan architecture had long been characterized by the emphasis of structure through the use of darker bands of stone: for example, in the Pisa Cathedral group or San Miniato al Monte in Florence itself.

The interior spatial articulation of the Foundling Hospital is based upon a porticoed courtyard. It is Roman-like, its larger apartments and service rooms symmetrically disposed about an axis. The outer loggia unites it all as well as tying the whole building to the piazza. In the spandrels between arches, Andrea della Robbia (1435–1525) later added colored faience medallions portraying babies in swaddling clothes.

Although he used a Roman architectural vocabulary, Brunelleschi’s syntax (to continue the analogy) was decidedly un-Roman. The rigor of archeologically correct classical grammar would emerge in the so-called High Renaissance, whose architects would never carry (for example) an arch on a column, because that had not been the Roman way. In fact, the delicately proportioned esthetic of the Foundling Hospital owes as much to medieval precedent as to classical models. Brunelleschi may have confused his chronology, because his contemporaries had a skewed view of history. The architecture of ancient Rome was not republican (as the Florentines wanted to believe) but imperial, and Romanesque was certainly not Roman.

See also

Florence Cathedral dome

Further reading

Gavitt, Philip. 1990. Charity and Children in Renaissance Florence: The Ospedale degli Innocenti, 1410–1536. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Klotz, Heinrich. 1990. Filippo Brunelleschi: The Early Works and the Medieval Tradition. New York: Rizzoli.

Manetti, Antonio di Tuccio. 1970. The Life of Brunelleschi. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania State University Press.

Frederick C. Robie House

Chicago, Illinois

When it was completed in June 1910, one neighbor described the Frederick C. Robie House as a “battleship”; another said it was a “disgrace.” But in 1957 its architect Frank Lloyd Wright, never known for his modesty, accurately claimed it to be the “cornerstone of modern architecture.” Many critics agree, and the building has been recognized by the American Institute of Architects as one of Wright’s major architectural contributions to the United States. In 1963 it was designated a National Historic Landmark, and a Chicago Landmark in 1971. The Robie House is the fullest expression of the dwellings known as Prairie houses. It is no exaggeration to say that, as a decisive, even shocking, contrast to traditional contemporary houses, it revolutionized domestic architecture throughout the world.

Wright and others developed the Prairie style—named for Wright’s “Home in a Prairie Town” published in the Ladies Home Journal in February 1901—mainly in the Chicago area, as “a modern architecture for a democratic American society.” The Prairie house was designed to blend in with the flat, expansive midwestern landscape. What characterized it? Wright’s “organic architecture” philosophy is difficult to define in few words, but simply, it was this: the house was a single living space, and everything about it grew from a plan that expressed the owner’s individuality; that is, the house fits the family, not vice versa. The openness was achieved by