Architecture Lecture tonight: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House: A New Perspective

FLW Robie HouseAs part of the Arkansas Design Network’s monthly architecture lecture series, tonight Jeff Shannon will discuss “FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT’S ROBIE HOUSE: A New Perspective. Shannon is a professor of architecture at the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture.

The program begins tonight at 6pm in the Arkansas Arts Center lecture hall, with a reception starting at 5:30.


Robie house, situated on the edge of the University of Chicago campus, was designed for 28-year-old Frederick  Robie and his young family by Frank Lloyd Wright. Completed in 1910, the house, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has generally been acknowledged as the “ultimate expression of the Prairie house”, a form pioneered by the Wisconsin-born architect. In addition to designing the structure itself, Wright designed the home’s furnishings and elements of Mrs. Robie’s wardrobe. According to Shannon, most interpretations of the Robie home underestimate the influence of site and context on the design of the house, located on a 60×180 foot lot on the corner of Woodlawn Avenue and South 58th Street, in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood.  Wright’s ability to deal with the challenges he faced “elicited one of the most creative and ingenious responses” of his career.


As Dean of the Fay Jones School of Architecture (FJSA), from 2000 to 2013, Jeff Shannon, an award-winning alumnus of  Arkansas and Rice Universities,  developed a variety of new programs, increased the school’s  diversity and raised its national profile. Under his aegis, the school was named for Fay Jones, one of its early graduates and an American Institute of Architects (AIA) gold medalist, who, early in his career, studied with Wright at Taliesin. During Shannon’s tenure, funding was raised to renovate Vol Walker Hall, the school’s home,  and build the widely acclaimed Steven L. Anderson Design Center. Responsible for developing the collaboration of the Fay Jones School of Architecture and the University of Arkansas Press, Shannon, as  executive editor of the publishing venture, is responsible for books dealing with architecture, including Architects of Little Rock, 1833-1950,  by Charles Witsell and Gordon Wittenberg.


All ADN lectures are free and open to the public. ADN’s supporters include the Arkansas Arts Center, the Central Arkansas Chapter of the AIA, the Fay Jones School of Architecture and friends in the community. A non-profit,  ADN is a 501-3 organization. For additional information contact

Butler Center Legacies & Lunch today at noon: Frank Sata

legaciesEach month (usually the first Wednesday), the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies hosts “Legacies & Lunch”.  This month the program features Frank Sata discussing Unlikely Foundation: How WWII Internment in Arkansas Shaped a Family’s Life in Art and Architecture.  

Mr. Sata’s appearance is also presented in partnership with the Clinton School of Public Service’s speaker series.

sataAs a young boy, Frank Sata was one of thousands of Japanese Americans who spent time in Arkansas during World War II, imprisoned by their own country merely because of their ancestry. He was eight years old when his family was shipped from their home in California to Jerome, where one of two Arkansas internment camps for Japanese Americans was built by the War Relocation Authority. Mr. Sata’s father, J.T. Sata, was an accomplished artist who documented his family’s time in camps in Arkansas and Arizona in a series of remarkable oil paintings and charcoal drawings. Much of that art is currently on display in Concordia Hall of Butler Center Galleries, as part of Drawn In: New Art from WWII Camps at Rohwer and Jerome, and will remain in the Butler Center’s collection following the closing of the exhibition on August 23, 2014.

Mr. Sata, who lives in Pasadena, California, went on to become an architect. His own work was influenced by his experience of the World War II camps, his father’s art and photography, and famed American architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s fascination with Asian architecture. He will discuss the internment experience, his father’s art, and the ways his work as an architect reflects his memories of his years in Arkansas.

Despite the sadness embedded in the injustice of the World War II camps, Mr. Sata says, “I have since developed a sense of comfort and place for Arkansas.” He says, “Sometimes words do not come easily for me to describe that special meaning, but he is an eloquent interpreter of the power of a harsh experience visited upon a country’s citizens by wartime frenzy and the healing power of creativity to overcome anger and bitterness.

Legacies & Lunch is sponsored in part by the Arkansas Humanities Council. Bring a sack lunch; drinks and dessert are provided. For more information, visit