Wright’s Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois, has recently undergone a massive restoration. During the work a small group from the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy went inside the heavy tarps covering the building and climbed the multistory scaffolding for a closer look at the work underway with restoration architect and Conservancy board member Gunny Harboe.

The exterior restoration includes concrete conservation, skylight repair, new roofing and drainage, door and window restoration, landscape restoration and exterior lighting. The interior will see restored historic plaster, replication of original finishes, lighting upgrades, art glass restoration, and wood door and trim restoration.

“The $23 million restoration of Unity Temple has been underway almost exactly a year,” says Heather Hutchison, executive director of the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation. “In that amount of time, thousands of pieces of wood trim have been catalogued and shipped to Peoria, the art glass meticulously removed, crated and transported to Los Angeles, paint finishes scientifically studied under microscope, concrete surfaces sounded and readied for resurfacing, and geothermal wells drilled down 500 feet on the narrow front lawn for energy efficiency and to provide air conditioning for the first time in the building’s century-plus existence.”

The restoration work is being completed in one phase, according to Harboe, and is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2016.

Visit the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation website to explore their extensive documentation of every facet of the restoration process through articles, photos and video.

View more photos from the Conservancy’s visit on our Flickr page.

Posted April 1, 2016