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The Noble Room: The Inspired Conception and Tumultuous Creation of Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple Hardcover – December 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Unity Temple makes an entirely new architecture and is the first expression of it. That is my contribution to modern architecture, and that, to me, is modern architecture. --Frank Lloyd Wright

About the Author

David M. Sokol has had a 40-year career as a professor of art history and has taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago since 1971. He chaired the department of art history for 17 years, becoming professor emeritus in 2002. In addition to teaching and writing on American and European art and architecture, Sokol has published articles and reviews on Frank Lloyd Wright and Unity Temple. He is the author of Oak Park, Illinois: Continuity and Change. He served on the board of directors for the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation and the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Foundation, and currently serves on the Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council. Sokol lives in Oak Park, Illinois.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Top Five Books; First Edition edition (December 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0978927036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978927035
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,087,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matthew L. Reed on February 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
An insightful account of the circumstances, events and issues surrounding the architectural presentation,design and structure execution of the famed Unity Temple. The forward provides the greatest insight, although it is an opinion, regarding the design approach and rationale...it is in my view one of the best explanations of a Frank Lloyd Wright building. One will probably find author's story tedious but you have to bear with it to obtain a complete picture...but again it is tedious. Overall, the book is well worth the cost and time to read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Goes beyond presenting the process of architectural design and client interaction, to capture the ethos of America more than a century ago.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Arthur on April 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Unity Temple is one of the greatest structures of the early twentieth century. Importantly it marked Frank Lloyd Wright's move toward the use of reinforced concrete as a building material, and he would continue to use cast concrete throughout his long career; from the early Unity Temple to the Guggenheim Museum. Wright turned to the decorative concrete block and sculpture cast on site for the Midway Gardens.
The use of decorative concrete blocks of Wright's design was central to his great residences in California, such as the Barnsdall estate, Ennis House, and La Miniatura. Also, some of the finest Usonian homes are concrete.
By all accounts, including Wright's, Unity Temple stands as a seminal work in terms of its conception, design, and construction.
David Sokal, the author of "The Noble Room", is an academic of long standing. Apparently much of his time was spent as an administer and lecturer, for his list of publications is sparse and appears to be of minor consequence. We are informed that he spent twenty years combing through the files of Unity Temple and doing research for this book. From the description Sokal's thesis seems to be best suited for a university press, but in fact it is one of two books produced by Five Books, which appears to be a vanity press. Their only other publication is "Murder Bay", written by a computer programmer who longed to be a novelist.
A scholarly press would have insisted on using knowledgeable readers for his manuscript, which would have spared Professor Sokal from some of the abundant embarrassments of his endeavor.
"The Nobel Room" opens with a serious error and closes without an index. The latter would have added an indexers fee, which is typically borne by the author, and would have required an additional signature for the book.
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