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Maybe this designation will work the same magic as it did for Ennis. The house was in much worse condition physically (acute rain damage there, too), and because of Gus Brown's lingering reputation, the people in charge after his death had credibility problems. National publicity and a new management were just what the building needed.
Jeffrey Chusid, former restoration architect at Freeman, said that nearly all the problems with Wright's buildings come from failure to account for effects of water.
Now, after having read all of the posts here on the chat forum, and taking some time to reflect and absorb information, I have arrived at the following. My initial reaction was that it was unreasonable to expect that any congregation would be able to generate the funds necessary to maintain and restore an iconic and historic piece of American architecture at a cost of multiple millions of dollars without local, state and/or federal aid. But once I thought about the situation a bit longer, I suddenly realized that the Unitarian Meeting House congregation in Madison, WI has done just that! Not only have they raised the funds to maintain the original building, but they have also managed to find the money to make several additions to the complex over the years, including the recently completed eco-friendly addition, to the tune of about $8-9 million dollars.As mentioned, being placed on this list is a double edged sword for Unity Temple; indicative of the danger it is in, but hopefully generating enough concern and interest to move the situation in a more positive direction. If the city of Buffalo and state of NY can raise $50 million of public/private funding for the D.D. Martin campus, it seems reasonable to assume that the state of Illinois and the greater Chicagoland area should be able to generate 40% of that amount to save Unity Temple. Let's hope so.
I do understand that the building in Oak Park is 50 years older than the Unitarian Meeting House, and was a more cutting edge design for its time than the building in Madison, which certainly invited more long-term maintenance issues for Unity Temple. But even taking that into account, how has the congregation in Madison been able to maintain and add onto their FLW design over the past 60 years or so, while the building in Oak Park has been plagued by maintenance issues and disrepair for as long as I can remember, which dates back to the 1980's?
As always, I welcome all comments and insights on these opinions. And though I'm sure I don't need to encourage this, feel free to disagree (or to agree, for that matter).
With all due respect, the problems created by such an experimental, aged, and massive concrete structure can not be taken lightly. Walls can't be opened, boards and beams replaced, etc. The issues are obvious and long standing, but nearly impossible to deal with short of unlimited check writing. I'm not familiar with any politics or deficiency of their stewardship, but consider what was involved with addressing Fallingwater. It may be that Unity Temple is an even bigger challenge-but certainly no less important to do whatever works to save it. It's condition could be worse than is apparent.Wrightgeek wrote: As always, I welcome all comments and insights on these opinions. And though I'm sure I don't need to encourage this, feel free to disagree (or to agree, for that matter).
The USA is in the process of quadrupling the national debt over the next few years. This does not include the Social Security and Medicare deficits that are not part of the official debt. Total debt approaches $100 Trillion.
Their best hope is an improved economy and many private donors.