|Posted by George Pudlo on February 28, 2011 at 11:15 PM||comments (0)|
Florida Southern College
111 Lake Hollingsworth Drive
Lakeland, Florida 33801
The largest single site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, is not in Oak Park, or even Illinois or his home state of Wisconsin, but in Lakeland, Florida. Frank Lloyd Wright designed the campus of Florida Southern College, comprised of 12 buildings of his design. The commission came in 1938 from then college president Dr. Ludd Spivey. It was during this time that Wright was reinventing both himself and his career. The 1920's saw few commissions for Wright, and by the early 1930's, conditions didn't appear much brighter. After forming the Taliesin Fellowship in 1932, and with the eventual comeback from the Great Depression, Frank Lloyd Wright embarked on some of his greatest commissions in the late 1930's -Fallingwater, the Johnson Wax Administration Building, and the campus for Florida Southern College.
Frank Lloyd Wright was 67 years old when he first visited the future site of the new campus, but he still would have another full twenty years of life and architecture ahead of him. The Florida Southern College campus by Frank Lloyd Wright is sometimes referred to as the Child of the Sun -Wright is said to have described the campus as: "out of the ground, and into the light, a child of the sun". As with all of Wright's work, the Florida Southern College campus is regional architecture that has a firm rooting in nature and organic uses of natural and local materials. The buildings of the campus are constructed of steel, glass, and sand -the sand being obviously local to the beaches of Florida.
The completion of construction took place over a twenty year period. The first building to be constructed, seen in the photograph below, was the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel begun in 1938. The final building, the Polk County Science Building, was not completed until 1958, a year before Frank Lloyd Wright's death. A unique feature of the Florida Southern College campus is the Esplanades, a series of covered walkways that span the campus and interlink the buildings together. The Esplanades essentially represent of the most basic themes in Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture: shelter. They protect students and faculty from the heat and burning sun.
Other Frank Lloyd Wright buildings of the Florida Southern College campus include the Lucius Pond Ordway Building completed in 1952; ET Roux Library completed in 1945; the Carter, Wallbridge, and Hawkins Seminar buildings completed in 1941; Emily Watson Administration Building; and the William Danforth Chapel completed in 1954. The J Edgar Wall Waterdome was completed in 1948, and originally was a large pool of water that Frank Lloyd Wright envisioned to have water jets spurting into the air from the outer edges of the 160 foot diameter pool. Technology at the time, however, would not allow the realization of this vision. The large pool was subsequently divided into smaller pools. In 2007, the pools were converted back to the original plan of a large pool and the water jets were installed to fulfill Wright's original plan of a water dome. The photos below depict the waterdome with the seminar buildings in the background as well as the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Special thanks to Christina Martin for contributing the photographs!