I was able to attend the Break::the::Box event this evening at Unity Temple, and it was fantastic! Vincent Michael, John H. Bryan Chair of Historic Preservation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, delivered a really insightful lecture titled "Constructing Architect: Barry Byrne and Unity Temple." It was an fascinating look at the life and work of Barry Byrne, one of the least known Prairie School architects.
Mr. Michael delved into how working with Frank Lloyd Wright and specifically overseeing the construction of Unity Temple helped shape Byrne's ideas and aesthetic development throughout his career. Byrne forged a working relationship with sculptor Alfonso Iannelli and together they were responsible for some ground-breaking work in Catholic church design. So little has been written and studied in regards to both artists, that it seems a natural subject for more exploration. Hopefully, the unpublished book on Barry Byrne that Vincent Michael eluded to will find a publisher soon, so that more can be learned about this amazing Prairie School architect.
Check out Unity Temple Restoration Foundation's website for information on the next Break::the::Box event and the other exciting ones to follow. See you there!
Photo courtesy of UTRF