Born in Wisconsin in 1867, Frank Lloyd Wright is consider by many to be America’s greatest architect. His body of work includes the design of more than 1,000 structures, as well as 532 completed buildings across America. The work of this talented architect has helped to shape the already diverse architectural landscape of Chicago and most of Illinois. Many of Frank Lloyd Wright’s buildings still stand today and are among America’s greatest architectural achievements.
When it comes to planning a trip to the Chicago Area, a drive around Chicago and the suburb of Oak Park will give you a chance to have a look at a small sampling of this acclaimed architect’s work.
Unity Temple is considered to be the world’s first modern building thanks to its clean lines and the fact that it is constructed wholly from reinforced concrete. Construction of Unity Temple began in 1905 after the original Unitarian Church, of which Wright was a member, burned to the ground.
The project of erecting a new place of worship was no small task. Wright was charged not only with designing the building’s exterior, he was also expected to handle the decoration of the church’s interior. The inside of Unity Temple was expected to include a place of worship as well as a large space which the congregation could utilize for all major church events. Wright was to accomplish all of this with a meagre $40,000 budget.
Wright exceeded everybody’s expectations. The church he constructed is an impressive building lit by exquisite ornamental glass along the walls as well as the ceiling. The architecture of Unity Temple bears a stark contrast to the Gothic-Cathedral style which was a popular design for churches at the time.
The Unity Temple is open to the public. If you’re planning a trip to the Chicago area, make sure you take the time to tour this impressive building.
Frank Lloyd Wright Home
The first of Wright’s projects to be built in Illinois was his own home located at 951 Chicago Avenue in Oak Park Illinois. The property on which his former home stands was purchased, by Frank, in 1889 for $5,000 with money he had borrowed from his then employer, Louis Sullivan. In 1972, Wright’s first home was declared a National Historic Landmark.
While Wright and his family lived at 951 Chicago Avenue, his home underwent a number of changes, remodels, and additions. The 1898 remodel included the addition of Frank Lloyd Wright’s home studio. It was in this room that some of his famous works were conceived of and designed including Unity Temple, Robie House, and the Larkin Building.
Today, the Frank Lloyd Wright Home is owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is operated as a museum by the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust. Visitors to the Chicago Area should make this American architect’s former a home turned museum a focal point of their trip.
These are but two of the buildings that stand in Illinois today which were designed by Wright’s talented hands. A drive around Hillside and Oak Park will give visitors a glimpse of Wright’s many other architectural achievements including Thomas H. Gale House, Robert P. Parker House, Frank W. Thomas House, as well as a number of other historic Chicago Area homes and buildings.
Whether it is work or play that brings you to Hillside and the Chicago Area, you need to make a stop by Unity Temple to see this famous building’s beauty for yourself, and take a drive around Oak Park to see some of Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous architecture. The Best Western Chicago Hillside Hotel is located just a few miles from Unity Temple and Oak Park. It is a great place to stay while visiting our city. Here, you’ll find our staff friendly, our rooms clean and comfortable, and our location convenient when it comes to site seeing, and experiencing all that the Chicago Area has to offer.