The following is taken from a booklet titled “Temple Birth,” written by Dr. Gerald Krick, a former Unity Temple minister. In his booklet, Krick invites us all to enjoy the beauty and spirit of Unity Temple, and to embark on a journey of creative expression.
It is incredible how much beauty can be seen if for some reason we begin to look for it. The beauty I would like to draw your attention to is that of… our own Unity Temple.
I would like to suggest to you that there is much more here than a thing, much more than concrete, or building material. There is in this place a spirit, a beauty given it by a man of singular genius.
Man must experience beauty. He must be able to find beauty, to create beauty or all that is beautiful within him withers and dies. Man not only needs to be in the presence of beauty, he must be aware of that beauty. He must see it, comprehend it, drink it in, filling the inner recesses of his spirit.
Because we are here so often it is easy to overlook the extraordinary vision that greets the eyes in this place. I could quote from the works of the most influential architects from all over the world concerning Unity Temple as one of the most significant edifices in our country… But I am not interested so much in prestige. I would like to focus upon the spirit in the beauty of this place.
This temple has become even greater than its architect because of that architect’s feeling that he was not so much creating beauty as he was allowing a spirit of beauty to come through, to shine through his material, his workmanship, his creation.
Great artists have often sensed a spirit of beauty already there in their materials merely begging for the opportunity to come forth to show itself. They think of themselves as working to express a higher spiritual reality in a form not yet realized. To the extent that they succeed in expressing this unrealized spirit they achieve both beauty and greatness in their work. Those who look cannot only recognize this beauty but they can respond to it in a profound way.
It is rare that we have an opportunity to get inside the creative experience of a genius. Say what you will about the personality of Frank Lloyd Wright, in creating this building he was an architect, in his time, surpassing all others.
Here in [Unity Temple] we see sand and lime, wood and pigment. Once they were as common as the dust under your feet, or the sticks in the street. But what we see here are common materials which have been elevated to the height of their beauty. Here is the highest state which they can achieve and it is the outcome of one man’s creative urge, his feeling of kinship with his common materials and his sense of belonging to the spirit within them.