In 2006, Harboe Architects’ personnel, then working for McClier, completed a Restoration Master Plan for Unity Temple. The plan included a comprehensive analysis of the building and its systems, an evaluation of accessibility issues with recommended improvements, and a schematic level scope of work for restoring the structure to its 1908 condition. An in-depth feasibility study was conducted in 2014 by Harboe Architects, to fully understand the scope and cost required for the complete restoration of Unity Temple including extensive research and mockups for proposed treatments of all the interior and exterior surfaces. In 2015, a generous lead gift of $10 million from the Alphawood Foundation was made towards the $23 million restoration and the team set to work to develop a full set of construction documents and construction was begun. The award winning transformative restoration, completed in June 2017, has returned Unity Temple to its original beauty and meaning. Today visitors from all over the world can more fully understand and appreciate the power and influence of one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most important works.
News and periodical articles about the restoration:
|Work Completed||Restoration Master Plan; South Roof Repairs; Full Restoration|
|Date Completed||Master Plan: 2006; South Roof Repairs: 2010; Restoration: 2017|
|Location||Oak Park, Illinois|
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and completed in 1908, Unity Temple is one of Wright’s greatest early works and a National Historic Landmark. It is included as one of the ten sites nominated to the World Heritage list as the Key Works of Modern Architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright’s concept for the building was to create a space for both the sacred and secular. This concept evolved into two separate masses that respectively hold the Temple, or sacred space, and Unity House, a space for assembly and classrooms. These two general masses constitute the major spaces of the building and are connected in the middle by the foyer. The result was a bold and innovative design conceptually rooted within the Prairie School period but yet foretelling of then Modern architecture movement then germinating in Europe.