Robert Lamp Summer Cottage

Date: 1893
Address: Governor’s Island, Lake Mendota, Wisconsin
Category: Residential
Restoration Status: Altered in 1901 and subsequently destroyed by fire in 1934/1935

Located on Governor’s Island in Wisconsin’s Lake Mendota—not far from Wright’s birthplace—the Robert Lamp summer cottage sat on an outcrop only slightly removed from the placid lake. It was designed for Wright’s childhood friend, Robert Lamp. Initially only one story, the cottage was modified to include a second level and surrounding veranda around the turn of the century. Its waterside setting, as well as the exposed rafter ends that project from under the cottage’s low-pitched roof, are evocative of the Japanese structures Wright encountered for the first time at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. There, a replica of the Ho-o-den, a Japanese temple, was constructed on an island in the lagoon of Chicago’s Jackson Park. While the influence of Japanese architecture became more pronounced later in Wright’s career, 1893 can be seen as a pivotal year in which the architect gained exposure to, and inspiration from, new design sources.


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