Just beyond Chicago’s city limits, Unity Temple’s $25 million, multi-year, comprehensive and painstaking restoration is now complete, we wish to recognize and celebrate this extraordinary achievement on a world-class building.
“Built between 1905 and 1908, Unity Temple represents a defining moment in Frank Lloyd Wright’s early career. Designed in Wright’s Oak Park Studio for his own Unitarian congregation, it is one of the first public buildings in America to feature exposed concrete and is one of Wright’s greatest public building of his early period. The harmony of the building’s strikingly geometric architecture and decorative elements exemplifies Wright’s theory of organic design. Unity Temple announced a new era of innovation in modern architecture.” (Frank Lloyd Wright Trust)
“A National Historic Landmark since 1971, the space is famed for its strict rectilinear interior design, dramatic skylight, unconventional construction and an inspired manipulation of space, which maximizes seating efficiency. But at the same time, the celebrated church (875 Lake Street, Oak Park, Illinois) long proved susceptible to water damage, necessitating the years-long re-do.” (Gossett, June, 27, 2017)
“Even if you have already visited Unity Temple, you will be stunned by the brilliant use of light and space in this magnificent building,” said Celeste Adams, president and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, in a press release.
Heather Hutchison, the executive director of the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation, says the building has global appeal.
“It’s an internationally iconic Frank Lloyd Wright building. It’s what he considered his modern masterpiece. We get international visitors and local visitors,” Hutchison said. (Hindery, 5/26/17)
Preservation Chicago applauds the extraordinary generosity of the Chicago-based, Alphawood Foundation which provided a $10 million grant in 2013 which provided the momentum to begin the extensive renovation project, other significant funders such as the Tawani Foundation, and the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation and Harboe Architects for their tireless commitment to excellence on the extraordinary restoration of this world-class masterpiece. How far this building has come since it was included on Landmark Illinois’ list of most endangered buildings in Illinois in the year 2000.
A trip to Unity Temple is the perfect way to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Wright’s birth. Guided tours take place Monday through Saturday and run approximately one hour minutes. More info at the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust.