Unity Temple is the recipient of Landmarks Illinois’ 2017 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award for Restoration. Located at 875 Lake St. in Oak Park, this 1908 Unitarian Church is considered one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most beautiful and influential works. The building, however, struggled with issues related to decades of deferred maintenance, leading to its placement on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2009 list of America’s Most Endangered Places. This restoration project faced many major challenges, including matching new exterior concrete repairs to the original tone and texture, recapturing Wright’s original vision for the interior spaces by matching the original plaster and paint finishes, and adding new building systems – including a new geothermal mechanical system, LED lights, AV system, ADA accessibility and code-compliant electrical and plumbing systems – without impacting the visual impact of the original design. The transformative restoration of this internationally renowned work allows for the continued use for worship by the congregation, improved experience for architectural tourists and improved functionality for community programming.
The team responsible for this project includes: Unity Temple Restoration Foundation, Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Project Management Advisors, Harboe Architects, CTL Group, Architectural Consulting Engineers, Julie Sloan LLC, Building Conservation Associates, Charter Sills, CYLA Design Associates, Talaske, Pentegra Systems, Heitzman Architects, and Berglund Construction.