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Architecture and Urban Design in the Chicago Area: Unity Temple - Research Paper Example

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Architecture and Urban Design in the Chicago Area: Unity Temple

Wright himself would state, “Build a beautiful room proportioned to this purpose. Make it beautiful in this simple sense. A natural building for natural Man."2 Among Wright’s most prominent designs are the Solomon Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Price Tower in Oklahoma, the Fallingwater Mill Run in Pennsylvania, and Hillside Home School. Wright’s expansive array of designs has resulted in theorists dividing his work into different eras, with the later era designs assuming greater degrees of complexity. One of Wright’s most significant early 20th century designs is the Unity Temple. The Unity Temple is significant not only as a seminal work within Wright’s canon, but also within the canon of 20th century American architecture. Unity Temple Background The Unity Temple is located in Oak Park, Illinois. Specifically, it is situated at 875 Lake Street, Oak Park Illinois. The exterior of this building is seen in Fig. 1. The building is currently a home for a Unitarian Universalist Congregation in the region; this congregation was formed in 1871. Wright constructed the Temple between 1905 and 1908. For a variety of reasons, the Temple is considered one of Wright’s most important early 20th century works. In addition to being a seminal construction with Wright’s oeuvre, the work is recognized as a major work within the canon of American architecture. ...
The Universalist congregation that originally moved into the building in 1908 is the same congregation that still owns and uses the Unity Temple. The building has undergone a number of restoration overhauls throughout the 20th century. Most recently, the building was added to the National Trust for Historic Preservation's 11 most endangered historic places. This organization ensures the Unity Temple receives the necessary funds for restoration projects. Frank Lloyd Wright was a member of the Unitarian church so it should be no surprise that he become the natural choice of an architect for the buildings construction. In 1905, the Unity Church experienced a fire that destroyed the past church and turned to Wright for aid in the new project. Wright himself noted, “Why not, then, build a temple, not to GOD in that way—more sentimental than sense—but build a temple to man, appropriate to his uses as a meeting place, in which to study man himself for his God's sake? A modern meeting-house and good-time place.”3 The main consideration was the development of a space for worship and a community room that congregation members could participate in various activities in. Theorists have recognized that many of the restraints the church placed on Wright directly influenced the structures creative eccentricities. In addition to the aforementioned structural needs, the church had a very limited budget. The proposed building site was very long, but did not contain much width, and would be situated on a very busy street in Oak Park. Furthermore, Wright was not only tasked with constructing the building, but also designing the stained glass and furniture that would adorn the church. Unity Temple Design Components As the project was highly ...Show more
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Summary

Architecture and Urban Design: Unity Temple Introduction Today, Frank Lloyd Wright is regarded as one of the 20th century’s foremost architectural talents. Wright’s oeuvre of buildings spans over 1,000 structures and 500 completed works.1 With such an expansive array of designs, it is difficult to attach a thematic undercurrent…
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