Sunday, February 16, 2014

Appreciating the Beauty of Unity at Frank Lloyd Wright's Majestic Temple in Oak Park

I have long loved the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright and have availed myself of many opportunities to see, tour and/or photograph it.

This fascination with FLW is more robustly explained in a post from last year featuring photographs of homes Wright designed along Forest Avenue in Oak Park, IL, so I'll keep this post light in exposition.

Although I had toured Wright's Unity Temple (website) in the past, it has been quite awhile. So after a meeting in Oak Park the other day, I happily dropped in for a guided tour.

Led by a volunteer docent named Carole, the tour--which covered the building's social hall and other areas before leading into the glorious sanctuary--was quite worthwhile, and along with much else, delighted me through a somewhat odd collision of two of my greatest creative heroes.

While giving a variety of insights within the sanctuary, seemingly out of nowhere Carole asked if we--me and the other tour guest, who was an actual architectural historian in Chicago for a convention--knew who Bruce Springsteen was.

Rather than responding that I knew every lyric of every song on every album and had seen him live 43 times, I simply said yes. To which she said that his drummer--"Max Weinberg!" I exhorted--was a big architecture buff and had made a point of getting out to Oak Park to see Unity Temple the last time the band was in Chicago (presumably September 2012).

And that not only had he toured the masterpiece, but noting the ongoing restoration project and fundraising drive, Max had donated a pair of prime Springsteen tickets that were auctioned off and raised $4,000.

Pretty cool. As of course, is Unity Temple, which the photo gallery below should illustrate. But even if you're not in town for a convention or sold out rock concerts, it's well-worth the $15 admission fee to see it for yourself. (Those who love Frank Lloyd Wright may also want to see posts including photos of the Robie House and the Park Inn Hotel in Mason City, Iowa, where I stayed for a night last year.)

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