Thursday, December 29, 2011

Oak Park visit

I'm sure some intrepid readers would remember our trek to Oak Park for the WrightPlus house walk in May.  The passes included free visits to the Home and Studio and Unity Temple in Oak Park, as well as the Robie House in Hyde Park.  The passes are about to run out for the year, which means we've got to see this stuff quickly if we want to see it for free.

Today was the Unity Temple and Wright's Home and Studio.  We've got reservations to visit the Robie House on Saturday.

The Unity Temple is a really amazing space.  We almost felt like it was a maze just to get up to the upper levels. basically it was one huge room, which is funny because Wright always said he hated houses that were just boxes with smaller boxes in them.  (I guess it's OK if you just have one really huge box.)  I also really liked the light fixtures, which were little globes and squares.

In fact, everything in the Unity Temple except the light bulbs seemed to be square; even the skylights had some amazing art glass.
 Here's Dave when we were on the upper level.  It's really hard to get the whole place in one photo, but it was really cool to see in person.
 The photo below was taken in the rear of the temple, where some office and fellowship activities take place.  I love this space.
I didn't get any photos of the Home and Studio, unfortunately, since visitors are not allowed to take photos.  But it was really interesting to see how his styles developed, especially (1) his love of the elaborate stencils and designs of Louis Sullivan, and (2) how his home became more and more "Wright"-like as it evolved.  

For example, I'm not sure which came first, but his octagon-on-square drafting room was a tiny version of the same room in the Hillside school near Taliesin.  That was a really cool room, as was his dining room, which exhibited his "room within a room" style of enclosing spaces apart from each other.

It was a really cool visit, and we're looking forward to the Robie House on Saturday!

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