After closing to the public in response to the novel coronavirus, a dozen historic sites designed by famed American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, such as Oak Park’s beautifully restored Unity Temple, are teaming up to offer weekly virtual tours.
Every Thursday at 12 p.m. Central, each of the 12 participating sites will share a short video tour of a different Wright-designed location on social media. This week, the accounts of Unity Temple and Chicago’s Emil Bach House partnered to promote virtual tour videos of the other site. Each site will pair with a different FLW institution in the coming week and share a new batch of videos.
“Even if people are just following Unity Temple, they’ll still get to see these other Wright sites,” Heidi Ruehle of the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation tells Curbed Chicago. “This week we highlighted the unity house portion of Unity Temple, which holds classrooms and social functions,” she explains. The Oak Park landmark will pair-up with the Hollyhock House in Los Angeles next week and share a video about similarities in their exterior designs.
The virtual tours come at a time when many of these Wright-designed sites have had to close their doors to the public and furlough staff. Revenue from tours has ground to a halt, and the sites that regularly host events have had to issues refunds. Unity Temple has had to cancel eight programs through the end of May, according to Ruehle. She hopes the virtual tours will keep the public engaged and want to support cultural sites once the unprecedented health crisis is over.
Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy executive director Barbara Gordon agrees. “It is precisely at this time, when so many are shut inside, that we need to experience beauty and inspiration,” said Gordon in a statement. “Wright’s works bring people together in harmony with the natural world, reminding us that we are all connected, even when we’re apart.”
The full list of participating sites and their respective social media accounts can be found on the website of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy. Architecture buffs can also follow along by searching the #WrightVirtualVisits hashtag on popular social media platforms.
Interested in seeing other Chicago-area cultural institutions, libraries, and museums from home? Check out Curbed Chicago’s rundown of online exhibitions, media collections, and virtual tours.
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Today we are exploring the @emilbachhouse in Chicago! Many thanks to Carmen for showing us around portions of the enchanting first floor. During normal operations, the home is available for tours, event rental and overnight stay! Learn more at emilbachhouse.com. #wrightvirtualvisits