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ICRI 2002 Project Award Winner
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Award of Excellence: Longevity Category

Pinnacle Port Restoration
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Panama City Beach, Florida

Submitted by Building Technology Consultants, Inc.

Pinnacle Port

Pinnacle Port Community Association
Panama City Beach, Florida

Project Engineer/Designer
Building Technology Consultants, Inc.
Destin, Florida

Repair Contractor
Phoenix Coatings
Pensacola, Florida

Material Suppliers
ChemRex, Inc.
Atlanta, Georgia

Sika Corporation—Eastern Region
Branford, Connecticut

Constructed circa 1908 for approximately $69,000, Unity Temple is a masterpiece rendered inside and out in reinforced concrete. It is one of Frank Lloyd Wright's earliest experiments with reinforced concrete construction, and represents his innovative use of cast-in-place reinforced concrete as both the structural and decorative material. It is also one of the world's finest examples of exposed aggregate concrete. His bold cubical design, without the traditional church spire, broke the barriers of religious architecture. 

To this day, Unity Temple remains a high point in Wright's Prairie Period and an icon in modern architecture. It also remains in use as the home of the Unitarian Universalist congregation for which it was designed and built. The National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior declared it a Registered National Historic Landmark building in 1971 and now considers it a "Priority One (Endangered/Threatened National Historic Landmark)." The building is also currently listed on the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois' "10 Most Endangered Historic Properties." 

The project comprised a comprehensive survey and evaluation of the concrete's condition and the development of a phased rehabilitation plan. The goal of the first phase was to complete the most urgently needed repairs within the constraints of currently available funding.

The most extensive work in Phase I, now substantially complete, was the repair of the building's most distinctive and deteriorated features - its cantilevered roof slabs and ornamental concrete supporting columns. The project posed a variety of unusual challenges. The team was required to achieve the highest possible aesthetic standards, maintain strict historical accuracy, protect the integrity of existing building features, and carry out repairs without interrupting the activities of the congregation or the income from tours and rentals.

Thanks to the expertise of the consulting engineers, the innovative use of repair materials and methods, and the dedication and skill of the contractor's craftsmen, Unity Temple is once again a sound and inspiring concrete structure.


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