Travel: Unity Temple in Oak Park, IL

October 27, 2023

I absolutely love architecture. In college I did all the prerequisites to enter the graduate architecture program at the U of Utah (in addition to my English major.)  When I was in Chicago last spring for the H&H (handcrafts and hobbies) conference I took an extra day and wandered through Oak Park, an area with a dense concentration of structures by Frank Lloyd Wright.

I spent ages wandering through this space and learning about how closely the design reflects the beliefs in the Unitarian Universalist faith. Simple things such as having the congregation exit on either side of the pulpit, heading towards the minister instead of away.

The dominance of vertical lines and the clean structure of the ornamentation speaks to me. I found the stair structure in the upper pews to be fascinating with maze like corridors to climb to reach them and then so much up and down to get to the seats. Most definitely not accessible but felt like a metaphor of life’s journeys.

I am always conflicted after reading biographies of famous artists who were terrible to their wives or any of the women in their lives. It stains my love for their creations. FLW left his wife and six children for a mistress. I know life is complex but I guess I identify more with the women who support a man to fame than get dumped. NOT from my personal experience of course.

So it takes a lot of compartmentalizing to truly enjoy masterworks like this. In this case, I just let myself feel the spirit of the space. It’s still actively in use by the congregation – wish I could attend a service.

1 Comment

  • Reply
    Patti Maxwell
    January 14, 2024 at 7:57 pm

    Lovely photos of a beautiful structure. (FLW was a mess.)

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