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"You know, Unity Temple is my contribution to modern architecture"—bold, blunt, and revolutionary, Frank Lloyd Wright single-handedly forged the Prairie school of architecture, of which Unity Temple is perhaps the purest example. Built between 1905 and 1908, the church broke all of the traditional rules, replacing the steeple with low, flat roofs, removing the prominent entranceway to create a sense of monolithic austerity, and most daringly of all, using poured concrete as not just a structural element but an architectural one. This honest exposure of a conventionally hidden material reflected the philosophy of a man who valued genuine candor over sweetened niceties, whether in word or in stone.
More than a century since its construction, the church is in the midst of an ongoing restoration, funded by member sponsorship and daily admission fees. Although the interior still luxuriates in the wash of natural light from the stained glass ceiling, and the boxy, modern light fixtures flicker on, the exterior faces severe weathering due mainly to Wright's eternally before-his-time designs, which failed to account for the effects of water and time on concrete, and an infestation of rockbiters in the 70s.
The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park fosters understanding of the life and work of Ernest Hemingway, with emphasis on his Oak Park origins and his impact on world literature.
We run the Hemingway Birthplace Home and the Hemingway Museum, plus offering scholarly and popular programming and entertainment year-round.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust is a Chicago-area nonprofit dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of one of the most influential architects of the modern era. Wright's Oak Park Home and Studio was built between 1889 and 1898 and served as the architect's workshop, in which he experimented with new design concepts, including the groundbreaking prairie style, as well as the lesser-known tiger style and mantis style. The Robie House, a Hyde Park Wright project designed for Chicago businessman Frederick C. Robie, is considered a Wright masterpiece and a centerpiece of modern architecture. All excursions are led by the Preservation Trust's expertly trained guides, who stand ready to impart bits of knowledge, answer tough questions, and pause for pictures with celebrity pillars and buttresses.
A giant tree spreads its limbs across a softly lit room as soothing forest sounds play. On a child-size stage, kids manipulate controls to flick theater lights on and off. In an art studio stocked with supplies, budding artists make creative messes. This is all taking place in Wonder Works' 6,400-square-foot space. Children aged 8 and younger explore six hands-on exhibits that help them express their creativity and develop mental and social skills. Wonder Works is able to cater to children with special needs.
The children's museum also hosts school field trips, and a variety of special activities and events including a children's music concert series, African American History Month, and the paleontology-centric Dino Works. In addition, an outdoor organic garden onsite gives kids an opportunity to marvel in the great outdoors without having to pay tolls to riddle-spouting trolls.
Constructed in 1929 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005, Oak Park Conservatory curates 20,000 exotic plants with care while striving to educate the public on the world of horticulture. Family/dual members, in addition to supporting the conservatory through their purchase, can plunge deeper into the botanical world with discounted conservatory classes and garden-walk tickets. Create a domestic greenhouse in homes, yards, and flowered bonnets with a 10% discount to local garden shops and exclusive purchasing power on the first day of the May 6–7 Annual Plant Sale.