Buildings shelter man from Mother Nature's wrath but never from her burps, which melt rooftop satellite dishes and make dry wall smell like ketchup. Shelter yourself in style with today's Groupon: for $9, you get admission for two to the Frank Lloyd Wright–designed Unity Temple (an $18 value), located in Oak Park.
Frank Lloyd Wright is considered one of the most important architects of the 20th century, leading the charge in the movements of organic architecture and the Prairie School style of architecture while also designing many of the furnishings, lighting fixtures, and stained-glass art in his buildings. Built between 1905 and 1908 as Wright's first solo commission, the National Historic Landmark–designated Unity Temple features all-concrete cubist design and is considered a masterpiece of modern architecture, opening its hand-carved doors to more than 30,000 Frankophiles per year. With this deal, you'll peruse the interior on a self-guided tour, taking note of the stained-glass windows that allow natural light to flood the open space, the surplus of wood moldings, the intimate seating for 400, and the earthy colors evoking nature with the elegance of camouflaged string quartets.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple
"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.