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Building Conservation Associates

Unity Temple

Location: Oak Park, Illinois
Year Built: 1905-1908
Original Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright

Unity Temple, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built in 1907, is an early example of modern church architecture and is one of the earliest public buildings in the United States to feature exposed concrete.

BCA completed an interior finishes analysis of both Unity House and Unity Temple in order to better understand Wright's original intention for the finishes of the spaces. Through a combination of cross-section microscopy, in situ exposures, and instrumental analysis, BCA was able to comprehensively document Wright’s original finishes. Later, BCA helped to design and review mock-ups to ensure that the correct appearance of Wright’s original decorative palette was attained. Dozens of mock-up panels illustrating various plaster textures, wash applications, and colors were prepared and reviewed. They were compared to the original finishes, both by eye and in cross-section under the microscope, until all attributes of the original finish were as closely matched as possible. Only then were the finishes replicated on a large scale throughout the building.

Awards: Special Award for Restoration Elegance,,mo.mo_us