Unity Temple Visitors Center / Oak Park, IL
Fall 2020 / Historical Preservation Studio
What is now an international landmark, the Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois is considered to be one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s greatest buildings. Constructed in 1906, the building has gone through decades of harsh weather conditions leaving restoration a repeating process. Periodic restoration has helped the building maintain its appearance all these years. As we learn to value historic buildings like Unity Temple, they tend to gain more popularity. The congregation is in need of an expansion to allow for their increasing number of visitors and more space to continue its operation.

My design is essentially an inverted Unity Temple as seen in the plan and elevation. Wright intended for Unity Temple to be a heavy mass on the bottom and get lighter as you travel up. My design flips this by cantilevering the upper two floors and using a heavy material like concrete. My emphasis on glazing was intentional as a way to keep the Unity Temple the focus and to create a contrast from an exterior view.
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