Unity Temple

The Unity Temple is a Unitarian Universalist church located in Oak Park, Illinois. It was designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and built between 1905 and 1908. The Unity Temple is a U.S. National Historic Landmark, as well as the first modern building in the world.

When faced with the challenge of replacing the majority of the building’s 16 separate flat roofs of an endangered historic place, management turned to DERBIGUM Americas, Inc. to recommend durable, long lasting and sustainable roofing solutions. In April 2009, the Unity Temple started to experience water seepage. The modern design of an all concrete structure created structural problems causing extensive water damage. The project’s main challenge was maintaining the Temple’s historic status and ornate architectural details while doing a concrete deck & concrete wall restoration and making a leak-free interior while staying within a $23 million interior and exterior budget. Management also required being able to have progress and situational meetings during restoration.

Restoration began in April 2015 and was completed in June 2017. All roofs were completely torn off and replaced with Derbigum materials that would keep the existing conditions of architectural details intact. The entire building was scaffolded and tarped during construction. The Unity Temple received Tapered Derbiboard, a polyisocyanurate insulation board designed to provide a clean, strong base that comes in variety of slopes to achieve positive drainage to prevent ponding, as well as long term thermal resistance. The roof was then covered with Derbigum GP and Derbicolor GP which have an exclusive blend of APP (atactic polypropylene) polymers and select asphalts that enhance the weathering capabilities. Derbiflash Flashing was also applied. Derbiflash is a liquid flashing that adheres to complex details, without sacrificing their architectural integrity or beauty. The building needed to be waterproofed with a modern system but you could not change the architectural significance of the building in the process, and Derbiflash accomplished that. The Unity Temple re-roof project was a success, spending only $145,000 in materials. Derbigum Americas, Inc. products guarantee of a 20 year performance will keep the Unity Temple leak-free for a long time. In 2017, the Unity Temple received Landmarks Illinois Richard Driehaus Preservation Award for Restoration.