unity temple
critical response
parallel movements
wright at the time
other works
unity temple

n 1905, while Wright was building the Larkin Building, he received the commission to rebuild Oak Park’s Unitarian church, which was destroyed that year by fire during a storm. Wright was a member of the congregation, and developed the design in tandem with the congregation and its minister. To a certain degree, Unity Temple represents an extension of the theme Wright began at the Larkin Building—a top-lit interior space surrounded by galleries or balconies—and one that he would use repeatedly throughout his career, notably in the Guggenheim Museum and the S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. Administration Building.In all three building, the luminous experience of the interior is magnified by its contrast with the exterior’s visual weight.

In 1901 he claimed (in contrast to many Arts and Crafts reformers) that machine-made products could be used intelligently and beautifully. Yet the processes of industrialization and rapid urbanization distressed him for the most part, and his urban buildings are thus turned inward, protected from the city by thick masonry walls. Where windows are provided, they are frequently inoperable, and are often placed to admit light without allowing views into the structure.