Unity Temple: Frank Lloyd Wright and Architecture for Liberal Religion

Overview

Unity Temple: Frank Lloyd Wright and Architecture for Liberal Religion is the first in-depth study of one of the seminal works of America's most renowned twentieth-century architect. In this study, Joseph Siry examines Unity Temple in light of Wright's earlier religious architecture, his methods of design, and his innovative construction techniques, particularly the use of reinforced concrete, which was here exploited and expressively deployed for the first time. Siry also sets Unity Temple against the tradition ...
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Overview

Unity Temple: Frank Lloyd Wright and Architecture for Liberal Religion is the first in-depth study of one of the seminal works of America's most renowned twentieth-century architect. In this study, Joseph Siry examines Unity Temple in light of Wright's earlier religious architecture, his methods of design, and his innovative construction techniques, particularly the use of reinforced concrete, which was here exploited and expressively deployed for the first time. Siry also sets Unity Temple against the tradition of the liberal Unitarian and Univeralist religious culture, the institutional history of the affluent Oak Park congregation that commissioned the building, and the social context in which the structure was conceived and built. Throughout, Unity Temple is treated as a work of art that embodies both Wright's theory of architecture and liberal religious ideals.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Joseph Siry thoroughly explores the many vectors—social, religious, architectural—that converged in Unity Temple, including Wright's far-flung design sources; contemporary reactions to the structure; and its influence upon subsequent architecture. The result is an amply documented, profusely illustrated, and generally well-written and accessible study that should be of interest across a wide disciplinary range." Choice

"...Joseph M. Siry has written a detailed, and highly focused monograph on the building addressed-almost exclusively-to a scholarly audience....Siry does a masterful job in exploring the complexities of the commission, and certainly leaves no doubt that many intellectual and social forces were in the air..." David M. Sokol, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians

"Architectural historian Joseph M. Siry has produced an impressive case study of Frank Llyod Wright's Unity Temple....excellent analysis of Unity Temple as a monumental work by Frank Llyod Wright." Marguerite Carnell Rodney, American Studies International

"...this detailed, readable, and richly illustrated volume is an important and valuable addition to literature on church architecture. It is also a wonderful resource on Wright the man and the architect, different from usual run of the mill resources..." John Bolt, Calvin Theological Journal

"This is the first comprehensive examination of one of Wright's greatest architectural works. It is splendidly written and richly illustrated..." Religion and the Arts

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521495424
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/26/1996
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.97 (w) x 9.96 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Ch. 1 Religious and Institutional Architecture of the Lloyd Jones Family 12
All Souls Church and Unity Chapel 13
The Hillside Home School 22
The Abraham Lincoln Center in Chicago 32
Ch. 2 Unity Church in Oak Park to 1905 51
Unity Church and Earlier Unitarian Architecture 51
Unity Church and Oak Park's Religious Architecture 59
Rev. Johonnot's Concept of a New Building 65
The Choice of a Site and Wright's Selection as Architect 70
Ch. 3 Wright's Design for Unity Temple 74
The Spire or the Auditorium 74
Wright's Early Sketch for Unity Temple 80
Sources and Preliminary Plans for Unity Temple's Auditorium 88
Unity Temple as Design in Concrete 108
Formal Integration of Unity Temple and Unity House 115
Wright's Unit System for Unity Temple 120
Unity Church's Acceptance of Wright's Design 126
Renderings of Unity Temple and Wright's Concept of Conventionalization 131
Ch. 4 Construction of Unity Temple 137
Creating a New Architecture of Concrete 138
Structure and Form in Unity House 157
Unity Temple's Foyer and Auditorium 169
Wright's Final Changes in the Auditorium 178
Unity Temple and the Larkin Building 189
Initial Responses to the Completed Unity Temple 192
Ch. 5 Religious and Architectural Interpretations of Unity Temple 195
Rev. Johonnot's Defense of Wright's Design 195
Western Unitarian Perspectives on Emerson around 1900 199
Unity Temple and Non-Western Religious Architectures 202
Unity Temple and Temples of Antiquity 208
Principle in Wrightian Theory and Liberal Religion 217
Wright's Response to Monroe's Criticism of Unity Temple 218
Wright's Unity Temple and Olbrich's Secession Building 221
Conclusion: Unity Temple and Later Modern Architecture 227
Unity Temple and the Prairie School 227
Unity Temple and Dutch Responses to Wright 230
Wright's View of Unity Temple from 1925 234
Appendix: Care and Restoration of Unity Temple from 1909 247
Notes 251
Selected Bibliography 335
Index 349
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