Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Unity Temple New Orleans
New Orleans is full of wonderful architecture and this is one of the most unusual sites there. It is the "Unity Temple," a gathering place, school, and worship space for an eclectic, "New Thought" spiritual group simply called "Unity." They respect all religions and invite teachers from many different traditions to speak there. "Unity Temple" was right down the street from where I was staying in the affluent "Garden District" so I had to go see it. I visited with the current leader of the group and she took me on a short tour of the place. The architecture is based on overlapping circles, a symbolic motif, although it looked like a stack of dinner plates to me. The architect, Leonard Spangenberg, was a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright and had studied with him at Wright's famous architecture school, "Taliesin West." The Temple was finished in 1961, at the height of mid-century modern curved geometric modern style. I was told that the conservative neighbors hated the design for being out of place stylistically, but couldn't stop it from being built.
Original drawing is black tech pen ink on sketchbook page, 6" x 3 1/2", July 1, 2003. This was drawn from a postcard photograph as I didn't have the time to do a proper drawing on site. Click image for a larger view.