Unity Temple - Background

Background

In 1905, after the original Unity Church burned down, the Universalist congregation of Oak Park, Illinois turned to architect Frank Lloyd Wright to design them a new structure. The result was Unity Temple. Wright was not only living in Oak Park, but was a Unitarian - which faith then had many beliefs in common with Universalism. The congregation needed a space of worship, as well as a community room. There were several immediate problems that the architect had to work with in order to satisfy the client. The budget for the Universalist congregation was rather small for its needs: $40,000 US dollars; and the proposed building site was long, but not very wide. Additionally, the building site stood on a busy street. And finally, the architect was expected to design not only the structure, but furniture and stained glass for the building. Charles E. Roberts, an engineer, inventor and an important early client of Frank Lloyd Wright, served on the church's building committee and was a key figure in seeing that Wright's vision for the church became a reality. For Roberts, Wright also remodeled Roberts' home and the Charles E. Roberts Stable.

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