I have been a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright since I was a child and visited his home and studio in Oak Park on a field trip. I wanted to be an architect, myself, after that but soon I fell in love with my guitar teacher and instead wanted to be pop star. I have revisited the home and studio and have also seen Robie House in Hyde Park as well as Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona. I have read a lot about the architect and have taught my students about him but I have never been inside his Unitarian Temple. I was pleased when one of my very first students said he would meet me at the temple for my second Summer Of Art art meet up.
The temple’s construction was completed in 1909 and is need of restoration which will cost the congregation upwards of seven million dollars. Entry fees go toward the restoration fund. Wright was known for his design genius, not his engineering skills. The temple, like much of his work, has planning problems and has had to have been revised to solve it’s heating and cooling issues. The building is made of poured concrete, enabling the cost of construction to be low but got so hot in the summer and so cold in the winter that services had to be cancelled.
The design of the temple, however, like all of Wright’s structures is phenomenal. The square and rectangle play important roles and his adoration of Japanese art and design is evident. The worship area is gorgeous. When the congregation fills this space I imagine a warm, familial atmosphere where the outside world fades and allows you to concentrate on your prayer and the sermon. It’s not my favorite Wright design but it’s worth the visit if you are in town to see Wright’s home and studio.
(www.utrf.org for more information and ticket sales)Ticket sales and more Frank Lloyd Wright Information
Leroy and I caught up a bit after the tour. I learned that he and his wife take advantage of the free flight passes she gets as a flight attendant and that he shares my interest in travel. Leroy was always a polite, soft spoken young man and remains such as an adult. He used to use the back of the art room after school to practice cutting hair and now he owns his own barber shop. Look him up for a clean fade at :
Super Star Styling Studio, 6132 W Roosevelt Road, Oak Park IL