43 Responses

  1. Jen Zegel

    Lesa, Your photos are incredible! You do justice to the spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright with your sensitive views and emphasis on the details. More beautiful in the details than in the actual site, with renovations and disrepair so visible in real life. However, as we learned on the wonderful docent tour, Florida Southern is committed to continued restoration to honor the history imbedded in their campus. With over 20,000 visitors a year just to see this landmark, our preservation passions are not alone. I loved the story of the California couple who visited the newly enhance dome fountain at the same time as the Florida Historical Society’s annual meeting at Florida Southern, and when asked how long they were staying to visit in Florida said- ‘We flew in today just to see the fountain and we’re flying back tonight’. This tells the story of the importance of this site outside of Florida!

  2. Jen Zegel

    Also significant of the preservation movement outside of Florida and a tribute to Florida Southern’s efforts: Princeton Review has named Florida Southern as the #1 most beautiful college campus in the country for 2012. Here is a good story about it: https://www.flsouthern.edu/news.asp?ACTION=view&ID=938 with more photos and a video.

  3. Bryan Mozo

    Wow, those pictures are amazing, I’m really sad that I had to miss this field trip. Hopefully I can make it there someday soon! I think it’s very interesting how Frank Lloyd Wright used abstract elements of the orange trees and groves to bring in the surrounding areas into the architecture around the buildings. I thought it was very amazing how he used the colored glass inserts to be able to bring in the light from outside and further conceptualize he idea of having these buildings be “children of the sun”.

    I love his use of lines mixed with organic shapes and the different elevations of the surrounding areas to blend the natural and architectural elements together. I just love how Frank Lloyd Wright uses his architectural elements to enhance the surrounding natural areas and the natural areas to enhance the architecture. The one thing I didn’t see a lot in the pictures was bringing a lot of the outside landscapes into the buildings besides using the different colored glass to bring light in.

    I love the fact that the college is trying so hard to restore the buildings to their former glory. I think having this many buildings of such a influential architect in one place it is so important to keep his vision alive so that young learning architects can learn from him and learn from his point of view.

  4. Stephany Jones

    The architecture of the school is very unique and I love all of the exquisite details that were put into all aspects of the campus. From outside to inside they can be found all over. The pictures you posted were very good in showing all those details. It is always interesting to hear about all of these pieces of architecture but I had not yet heard of one here in Florida that was designed by a famous architect that I had actually heard of before. So of course this article was definitely appealing to me when I heard the name and I was not dissapointed. I loved how all the details were taken into consideration and how much work and effort must have been put into making the buildings. Things such as the hand made blocks show such an effort that was put forth into the building itself. I really appreciate all the work and I can honestly sat that all that work shows through out every single thing you see in those pictures. I do not really know what else I could say about all of this. Over all it is just very amazing to read and to see all of the pictures that you incorporated into the article and to learn about the architecture in our area and if not there, then in our state. I look forward to reading more articles that you will post and seeing and learning about the architecture that is here so close to me.

  5. Catherine Biegler

    While I was reading I was able to feel the energy that you conveyed in your writing along with in the images. I am so sad that I was not able to join you on the trip to see the fabulous works of Frank Lloyd Wright; he is one of my favorites. I enjoy his approach to design and how he incorporates the surroundings into his work.

    In researching Child of the Sun I ran across a video clip that showed what I am finding to be my favorite part Frank Lloyd Wright’s designing of the seminar buildings are the use of natural light and tapestry blocks with colored glass. I also like the use of the esplanade/walkways. I think that the use of copper was a wonderful touch and becomes even more interesting as it ages. Another feature that I feel would have been nice, if they were kept as Frank Lloyd Wright had designed, would have been the skylights that were designed to bring in natural light.

    It is nice to know that there is a place here in Florida to view works from Frank Lloyd Wright and that they will be preserved for future generations since being added to the National Historic Landmarks by the National Park Service. I hope that the funding does come through so that these building s will be maintained and brought back to their original beauty.

    In addition to the architecture itself, I am pleased to learn that student labor and local resources were used in creating these architecturally interesting buildings.

    I hope that I get the opportunity to visit the campus in Lakeland to view these magnificent buildings someday in the not too distant future.

  6. Saidee

    Frank Lloyd Wright was an amazing architect and one that has a very interesting biography. In a previous class I had the pleasure of studying a documentary about his life work and it only mentioned this campus but did not go into much detail as you have done here so I am very grateful to you for this week’s topic.

    When you mentioned the “Child of the Sun” was created using student labor, it brought me back to the footage within the documentary that showed the young architects of the architectural fellowship Taliesin surrounding Frank Lloyd Wright as he would draw at his table. They were in awe of his ability to create the buildings that he did. Through all his personal turmoil his buildings show a man before his time with all the clean contempary lines that your photos have so perfectly framed. My favorite of your photos is the stained glass within the Danforth Chapel, through this window he brings those observing out to a godlier grace. Your pictures display the attention to detail that he gave to all his projects. The small details such as the door frame worked into the block wall came so naturally to him and yet make such an impact architecturally to the structure. Your description and photo you took of the column supports for the low-rising cantilevered esplanade portrays his organic style perfectly. I enjoyed your descriptive wording of your tour as you explored each corner. He was a master at his art and I am grateful that you took your time with all of these photos you have shared with us.

  7. Lana Bonomo

    Wow! What a tour you had! The docent led tours are always full of insight. I hope you had the pleasure of being the only one in the tour group as they tend to spend more time with individuals that appreciate what they are seeing. I am intrigued that this campus is here because of Wright’s work featured in Time Life Magazine and the interest of Dr. Spivey. Just think if Wright had been in demand these buildings may not be here today.

    In the Anne Pfeiffer Chapel photo I noticed the beautiful railing above the pulpit. It appears to be made of concrete or even block. The design on it looks of a South American influence. The Incas used motifs like this and worshipped a sun god. Perhaps Wright took a little inspiration from them for the details of the church on ‘Child of the Sun’ campus.

    Also notable in your beautiful pictures is the esplanade. While I don’t really see the mimicry of orange trees in the columns- they are beautiful. The covered, expansive walkway reminds me a bit of the walkway next to the buildings of BCC. Some beautiful columns might make BCC’s walkway feel a little less threatening. The beautiful lawns are already there. Bringing the beauty up to the walls certainly couldn’t hurt.

    I wish I could have gone on the tour. Unfortunately the timing of my elderly mother’s visit clashed. This is definitely worth seeing. I will have to make my way over there. The buildings and lives of the people I have been learning about in this study have inspired me to make touring in the United States a priority. I will be planning visits to see Florida sites first and branching my way out. Thank you for sharing your time and knowledge.

  8. Jan C Reed

    Having lived in Florida my entire life, it is amazing that at this stage of my life I am discovering these architectural gems in my own backyard. I have actually visited the Florida Southern campus a couple of summers ago with my daughter for a junior tennis tournament and never even paid attention to the architecture. What a waste of a trip! Of course, at that point in my life Frank Lloyd Wright was not that interesting to me and he still is not my favorite architect, but I appreciate his dramatic use of lines and his consideration of nature in his designs.
    The campus of Florida Southern is unique compared to the other college campuses that I have toured (which are quite a few, since I have a daughter starting college in the fall). It is much more integrated than most, more contemporary and the design considers the natural surroundings more than most. It appears that campus was designed as a whole instead of individual buildings that are added as needed over the years like many college campuses.

    The idea that he wanted to bring the outdoors into the indoors is perfect for the setting of a Florida college, since the sun and outdoors is such a vital part of living in Florida. The fact that he worked with the natural slope and terrain of the citrus grove landscape and organized a master layout that was sensitive to the land’s natural characteristics was wonderful. One of my favorite parts of the design for the campus is the cantilevered esplanade which looks beautiful, but also very functional to protect students from the frequent Florida rainstorms.

    The pictures are great and when in Lakeland again, I will definitely tour the Florida Southern Campus!

  9. Clair Brown

    How amazing to think that in the middle of the Lakeland orange groves is such a vision by Frank Lloyd Wright himself. The Annie Pfeiffer Chapel is what you would envision from the Fallingwater residence but again it still leaves you in awe. I think the exposed roof on the second floor balcony is similar to the roof top of the building. The exterior of the ground floor brick detail gives me the illusion of an outside courtyard and the geometric pattern at the top floor is added interest. Inside the chapel is even more stunning with its continuing patterns from the exterior and mixture of solid wall and glass ceiling on the upper floor. The E.T. Roux Library radial ceiling is repeated in the selection of work surfaces which seem to revolve around the central area.
    It is interesting the way Wright used the column repeat along the covered walkway so that at each column has a planter. This walk way seems whimsical and would remain a focal point since the goal was to have unique building with varying styles. It’s amazing how he uses pattern so freely like the detail on the walls of the stairway of the Danforth Chapel and the light reflects pattern on the adjacent walls. Also, he uses the pattern of vertical lines on the clear rear wall in the chapel then vertical columns with horizontal line on the adjacent wall in addition to triangular planters.
    I hope that future restoration efforts will continue to uncover the original vision that Wright had for the campus because his vision for “A Child of the Sun” is inspirational for today and tomorrow’s college student.

  10. maritzaq rodriguez

    The Pfeiffer chapel had cement bricks at the buildings base, ade with local sand an crushed coquina shells, because of the porous nature and unskilled laborers and techniques the bricks nave not withstand florida’s climate. I love the canter of the chapel open to natural light and the sky. This is one of my favorites its true to his philosophy of nature. I also love the walls made of a special concrete block called tapestry block, it has small squares of colored glass embedded in them, creating moving spots of red, blue and amber on a sunny day. I went there a few years ago and found it fascinating.. Wright had great love of nature and always tried to incorporate it in his designs. He once stated that his religion was spelled with a capital N (nature). His philosophy of architecture were made up of several ideas. one being romantic idea of honest expression that a building should be faithful in revealing its materials and structure(https;//www.sec.edu). another that a building from should reflect its plans, its functional arrangement of interior spaces, and third that a building should express something new and distinctiveof its times. In a interview by Mike Wallace he stated that if he had another twenty years he would change what we live in an how we lived in it. Frank LLoyd Wright was a very philosophical individual.

    re:www.hrc.utexas.edu/multimedia/video/2008/wallace/wrightfranklloyd.html
    http://llen.wikipedia.org/wikiflorida_southern_college
    http://www.f;spitjerm.edi/fllwctr
    http://www.sec.edu

  11. Jamie Goodwin

    (EARLY BLOG REPLY FOR WEEK 8-out of town) :)
    Frank Lloyd Wright is an amazing architect. But above that, I feel he is really admired for his strong ability to visual and conceptualize his ideas and apply them so artistically. Clearly, he was not afraid to walk off the beaten path. He was a true artist and the land was his canvas. This college is beautiful and It was too bad that I was unable to join the tour. The photos that you have chosen to share are remarkable and I could only imagine how amazing it would have looked in person. My favorite aspect that I learned about in this architectural project was reading about his inspiration. It blows my mind to think that something as simple as an orange grove is what got his wheels turning. The oranges and reds used in the Child of the Sun building are a reflection of his inspiration and it is very neat looking. I also enjoyed reading your above comments regarding the lack of landscaping and day-lighting approach. It is pretty interesting how folks now a days feel they are on to something new and green, when really all along brilliant architects such a Frank Lloyd Wright were applying this technique all along. Thank you for gracing us with another fabulous and educational blog post. I am really enjoying learning about our home state’s special architectural staples.

  12. Coral Moyle

    I have been in the area of Florida Southern college a few times but never taken the time to stop in and see what it entails. But after seeing so of the photos I defiantly should make it a point to stop in if I have the chance. For being a college, these building are very different and unique with interesting details. I have seen a lot of college some very old like Flagler and some with a lot of new buildings like University of Central Florida. It interesting to see the differences in all of the colleges, that I have had a chance to see in person or through photos. Some have been built from the ground up to be and built to be a college, then there are the colleges that have been transformed from a former purpose, or colleges that have been added to over time so that half is new and the other half is its original. Back to Florida southern, the chapel really seems to capture the eye. What I found extremely entrusting is that to make the representation of the orange trees an overhang with the column supports representing orange trees. One of my favorite details of the college is the colorful hand blown glass block inserts. I think that idea is so different and the fact that you really don’t see a lot of hand blown glass in colleges.It’s also awesome to that Florida southern Campus was on travel channels 10 things you don’t know about Florida, which to me is a honor and something to be proud of.

  13. Kathleen Miron

    I was born and raised in New York so I am familiar with Fallingwater in Pennsylvania. I have family in Pennsylvania and my parents owned property there. A lot of the land there is very rocky (it’s mountain) so that makes it difficult to build on. When I saw Fallingwater for the first time I thought that made a lot of sense, so that’s how you build on a mountain side. His design blended as part of the mountainside and even into the stream, but yet at the same time it stood out as a complex design. This wasn’t moms taste so they sold the property.

    So when I saw Southern College for the first time I said,” That looks like……… is that……..,” sure enough Frank Lloyd Wright strikes again. What twisted my mind was how this design was working on flat land when I had embraced the idea of it blending into the mountainside. Funny thing as I’m taking all this in I’m realizing it works, it works well.

    I like his design of the buildings, they are large simple structures with detail and he graduated the color sequence to blend with the environment. His different textures work as natural shading would. I noticed he uses abstract designs and shapes in structures and accenting them. On the inside the space is open to keep a flow of energy so the space is useable. Once again the colors and textures follow throughout the interior. I find the design inviting and allows free movement. With buildings of this size you sometimes get that closed in feeling or tunneling affect, I don’t here.

  14. J Sartori

    I have not taken advantage of the opportunities I’ve had to visit this campus, when our children were looking at colleges. Although I know of its architectural Although I know of its architectural significance, I have not paid particular attention to it. Consequently, the photos provided in this blog were instrumental in telling the story that Frank Lloyd Wright wished to share through his architecture. Bryan mentioned his appreciation in the symbolic orange trees holding up the canopy to the walkway; I too love this! It reminds me of Gaudi’s columns at Guell Park in Barcelona, Spain.
    I like some aspects of Wright’s style, and definitely agree with the concept of marrying the site and structure as one with nature. I like it best when architecture fits its location and looks like it belongs. I find it fascinating that such strong linear architecture looks peaceful in a campus setting; and am pleased that efforts to retain and preserve are in place and constantly improving to bring the actual features back to life.
    The detailing of stained glass must be beautiful throughout the day as the light produces different patterns across the space. Thought put into such details across the campus have truly provided a treasure worth protecting!

  15. Michael Dudek

    Kudo’s on a great article Lesa! For all of you FLW fans I recommend a visit to his only high-rise building in Bartlesville Oklahoma. It is a hotel so if you’ve ever dreamed of sleeping in a genuine FLW building this is well worth the trip. http://pricetower.org/innatpricetower/

    Interesting that the Price Tower folks have submitted it, with several other FLW sites, to be on the World Heritage Sites list. Wonder if Florida Southern could do the same?

  16. Alison Carver

    How does this school not have a design program? No architecture, interior design, or even industrial design program. How is that even possible? With a campus as beautiful as this, designed and executed by a world-renowned architect, this school screams inspiration. Another fact I found interesting is that this project, and Fallingwater for that matter, were both executed after what Frank Lloyd Wright considered a downward spiral in his success. Maybe the panic was just the inspiration he needed.

    On a personal level of observation, based on pictures alone, I actually found the campus as a whole to be a little lacking. What I have always been drawn to by the works of Frank Lloyd Wright, is his mix between simplistic lines and organic textures. I see the lines here, but I’m lacking the true organic feeling that keeps the finished product from appearing too cold and institutional like. I appreciate the respect to the orange groves with the interpretation on the orange trees in the columns of the covered walkways; I do see that expressed clearly, but the execution of this with the patterned block feels a little forced. I’m missing the stone, or brick, or trees, or even some color. Some landscape design would do wonders to help combat the feeling of concrete on concrete on concrete. Even in the case of the Guggenheim museum in New York City, which is very stark, white and smooth, for lack of better words, is contrasted with an abundance of curvature keeping the lines organic and not too cold. It does sound like quite a few “improvements” have been made over the many years of inhabitances, and without the heart of an architecture or design program there to keep them from straying too far from Wrights original vision, much of it has most doubly been lost. It pleases me we are taking the right steps to get back to it with recent restoration project completed and plans for more in the future.

  17. Giovana

    I have a special connection with Florida Southern College because less than a year ago I represented FIT on a Intercollegiate Case Competition, and along with my 4 partners, we got 1st place!
    I remember when I went there I could not believe the architecture. I was expecting a regular school, but looking around a bit and I was fascinated by the different shapes, textures, and colors from the glass. It is pretty impressive that Florida Southern College has the biggest single-site collection of structures designed by Wright. There were actually 18 buildings planned to be constructed, but only 12 were finished. Imagine 6 more? That would be incredibly nice to walk around! They actually took 18 years to complete, and I’m so glad the university’s president at the time trusted him with the project.
    The project couldn’t have been named better. The indoors are so dynamic and fun that it’s almost like you’re outside. The shape of the initial library reminds me of the sun, and that’s where my group got judged and received the trophy, so I do have good memories in there!
    I looked up some of his work and “talent” and “creativity” should be his middle name! I saw the waterfall house, and it is very beautiful; it reminds me of some of the work from a Brazilian architect called Marcio Kogan because of the straight and clean lines.
    By the way, the pictures are very well taken. I love photography and can definitely appreciate your photography skills!

  18. Loriann DeMello

    It could just be the lovely photos, but this campus is beautiful. I had no idea Florida Southern College was so unique, never mind being designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. This surprises me considering I know some high school class mates who attend there. Why are they not bragging? I have no idea. In high school I had to take a home design and management class, and we all had to choose one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs to present. I chose Falling Waters, of course. That was partially because I knew nothing about the architect at the time, and I am more interested in home design. I do not recall any of the students presenting on Florida Southern College, but I wish they did. Based on the photos, this design seems a little more tame than his others. When we mentioned Florida Southern College in class I was expecting to see something really crazy. Either way, I definitely would have scheduled a visit there just for kicks while touring colleges! Maybe I still will, considering I have some old high school classmates up there.

  19. Melanie McAboy

    This is a very informative article. Beautiful photos!
    I recently moved to Florida about two years ago. I have been studying FLW and other Architects to include in a research project I am working on.I have not come to find this information, I had no idea FLW worked on such a unique local project. I will have to visit this campus some time. I am interested to find out what local materials he chose for his buildings.

  20. Jessica Derrick

    What a wonderful treat for us in Florida to be able to experience a piece of the amazing architecture of Frank Lloyd Write, right in our own backyard. It gives us the opportunity to see what a wonderful contemporary architecture he was.
    This campus looks absolutely beautiful; I cannot imagine the feeling of being surrounded by such artistic and inspiring buildings. It was mentioned that some of the buildings he designed were ‘the chapel, library, administration building, music building, industrial arts building, science and cosmography building, art gallery with studio workshop, seminar buildings and faculty houses’ I found this interesting because the majority of these buildings would involve artistic and abstract thought; what inspiration these buildings must be to the students using them. The descriptions of the color glass blocks and hand poured blocks, creates vivid images of a campus that can cause a visitor to feel as if they are no longer on a college campus.
    It’s unfortunate that the growth of the school is causing the need for more space and for renovations which are destroying the authentic masterpieces that Mr. Wright created. Even if preservationists restore the building I don’t know if it will ever have the authentic feeling that it once was; however, it would be an interesting job to try and recreate the building.
    I absolutely love the pictures of the chapel; the use of natural light and intricate stone detailing makes this building very original. All the buildings appear to be timeless; they will continue to grow in beauty as time goes on. I think it more colleges should put effort into making their campus a piece of artistic design instead of just buildings placed together.

  21. Abdulaziz AlQahtani

    Architecture is been a hobby of mine. I love designing homes and how they’re built but what amazes me more is how they look like. I’ve travelled a couple of times to Dubai city in United Arab Emirates just to look at the buildings and the way they were design and built. However, Frank Lloyd Wright amazes me by the idea of his building are design old designs and at the same time, it’s mixed up with the modern design. “Wright believed in designing structures which were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture. This philosophy was best exemplified by his design for Fallingwater (1935), which has been called “the best all-time work of American architecture”.” He also designed offices, churches, schools, skyscrapers, hotels, and museums. He also designed most of the decoration and furniture in his buildings that he made.
    As a student, I think what motivates me to go to school is the beauty and the invironment of the school I’m going to. What Frank Lloyd Wright try to do is the same thing, what he wanted to do is make the school so beautiful in its designs and shape, not to only motivate the students to go to school, however to show them that this beauty, a student of this school can design better. I believe what he tried to accomplish from the goal of designing Florida Southern College, “FSC” is that to make the students learn from his designs and try to make something better or similar to his styles.

    Brewster, Mike (July 28, 2004). “Frank Lloyd Wright: America’s Architect”. Business Week (The McGraw-Hill Companies). http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/jul2004/nf20040728_3153_db078.htm. Retrieved January 22, 2008.

  22. Abdulaziz AlQahtani

    Architecture is been a hobby of mine. I love designing homes and how they’re built but what amazes me more is how they look like. I’ve travelled a couple of times to Dubai city in United Arab Emirates just to look at the buildings and the way they were design and built. However, Frank Lloyd Wright amazes me by the idea of his building are design old designs and at the same time, it’s mixed up with the modern design. “Wright believed in designing structures which were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture. This philosophy was best exemplified by his design for Fallingwater (1935), which has been called “the best all-time work of American architecture”.” He also designed offices, churches, schools, skyscrapers, hotels, and museums. He also designed most of the decoration and furniture in his buildings that he made.
    As a student, I think what motivates me to go to school is the beauty and the invironment of the school I’m going to. What Frank Lloyd Wright try to do is the same thing, what he wanted to do is make the school so beautiful in its designs and shape, not to only motivate the students to go to school, however to show them that this beauty, a student of this school can design better. I believe what he tried to accomplish from the goal of designing Florida Southern College, “FSC” is that to make the students learn from his designs and try to make something better or similar to his styles.

    Brewster, Mike (July 28, 2004). “Frank Lloyd Wright: America’s Architect”. Business Week (The McGraw-Hill Companies). http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/jul2004/nf20040728_3153_db078.htm. Retrieved January 22, 2008.
    As a student, I think what motivates me to go to school is the beauty and the invironment of the school I’m going to. What Frank Lloyd Wright try to do is the same thing, what he wanted to do is make the school so beautiful in its designs and shape, not to only motivate the students to go to school, however to show them that this beauty, a student of this school can design better. I believe what he tried to accomplish from the goal of designing Florida Southern College, “FSC” is that to make the students learn from his designs and try to make something better or similar to his styles.

    Brewster, Mike (July 28, 2004). “Frank Lloyd Wright: America’s Architect”. Business Week (The McGraw-Hill Companies). http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/jul2004/nf20040728_3153_db078.htm. Retrieved January 22, 2008.

  23. Brandon Bourne

    I really enjoyed reading this article. You often talk about Frank Lloyd Wright while we are in class and i usually do not have any connection to what you are talking about so i cant relate but now that i have read this I don’t have to feel like i am completely lost while you explain certain things about him.

    I really enjoyed the pictures that you took when you went there. they are definitely not the so called “norm” of what you see when you come back from visiting a campus which i guess is great because it shows that he stands out from what other architects have done at schools.

    One thing that i noticed that really caught on to my attention where all of the different shapes that you can find within the campus. Just taking a look into the pictures you provided. you can find everything from squares, rectangles, triangles, spheres, cubes etc. it really makes everything stand out from one another. One reason i believe it helps catch peoples attention is because it forces you to sort of look around as you try to make sense or find a pattern in the architecture. personally from what i can see in the pictures. I am a fan of his work.

    One another note. I really like that one picture of the glass that is colored in orange and red. when you don’t pay close attention to the make up of the wall it looks 3d to me. But it only seems to work if that is not the focus of what you are looking at and you are sort of seeing it through your peripheral.

    Thanks for sharing

  24. Drew Lacy

    One of my favorite things about Frank Lloyd Wright’s style is that it’s distinctive and unique, without the need to make every single building virtually identical. Each of his creations stands as its own work of art, and though his works share similar features, no two are exactly alike.

    I can’t imagine going to a school like Florida Southern College and seeing that incredible architecture. Admittedly, the first thing that comes to my mind is how it must look today. Given how much many schools grow, I imagine there had to have been additional structures that couldn’t possibly compete with Wright’s work in terms of beauty and ingenuity. It must be a tough dilemma for a growing school to have to step away from the look, but I imagine they’re still incredibly proud of the buildings of Wright’s that they do have.

    I found it especially interesting that the buildings were constructed, at least partially, with student labor. I can’t imagine adding a new building on my college’s campus, and inviting students to take part in the construction. It was definitely a different time, but the results are still astounding.

    I also had no idea that Wright had such religious interests, or at least it seems that way from his commentary on the buildings and their emphasis. The chapel and many of the other buildings look like they’ve come straight out of a movie. They stand out so much from the ordinary that it’s almost hard to imagine day-to-day college activities in such amazing surroundings. (And that suspended stairway is almost a little vertigo-inducing.)

  25. Jeffrey Hole RA, LEED AP

    What a great article and fabulous photos. Many years ago, I was President of the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation. We organized a day bus trip to Florida Southern to see the FLW buildings, which so many people do not even know about. The best part of the trip was that Edgar Tafel, who worked with FLW for 11 years, joined us for the trip. Edgar told FLW story after story on the 2 hour bus trip there, acted as our Tour Guide, and on the return trip played us an advance copy of a yet to be broadcast documentary on FLW done by Ken Burns. What an incredible day!

  26. Daniel MacLeod

    The real question that should come out of this blog is, what did Frank Lloyd Wright not design? The guy went from putting a house basically into a waterfall, to designing an entire college campus. I am thinking that the next article that I am going to read about him is going to be about him designing an underground city. He seems to have had no limitations at all with his imagination or drive to create buildings that would leave people in awe 100 years later. I do not really care how big the guy’s ego was, if I could do or even think of some of the ideas or concepts that he had, I would have quite the ego as well. So it is safe to say that I am a fan Frank Lloyd Wright, there can be one knock on his building designs. I know it was signature to have the lines and the building looking horizontal, but I think that kind of brings down the creative factor in the designs. But then he just goes crazy with the lines and horizontal buildings, which kind of clouds the fact that a lot of his buildings look very similar. Of course, if it is not broken, why fix it? After reading this, it makes me want to get into a car and take a road trip to Florida Southern College and just take the tour. I hope that they do follow through on the continuation of preserving the building and bringing it back to its original look on the interior. Then it really would be all of Frank Lloyd Wright, and we all think that would make him smile.

  27. Emily Windsor

    I chose this article because I am actually going to be doing a presentation on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Florida Southern College next week so I thought your blog would be insightful, and I was right. This is really good stuff and as always I love your photos.

    I like how Frank Lloyd Wright had the campus named “Child of the Sun” because I find it funny since the campus is in Florida and Florida is called the Sunshine State. However, his actual reasoning behind naming it thus I liked far more; you said that he wanted to bring “God’s outdoors into man’s indoors” which was probably difficult, but I’m glad Wright did it. I found it interesting that even though Frank Lloyd Wright has an entire district that was put into the National Historic District, but this college campus is what holds the most Wright structures in one place.

    When I read that this college was“20 year collaboration” I was kind of shocked; that is a long time. I know it is a ton of buildings, but still 20 years?! I was not surprised that Frank Lloyd Wright’s ego is the reason behind him designing the college because well we have made fun of his ego in class a few times.

    It is actually nice to see that this was built during the Great Depression because I am just thinking of all the jobs that that could have helped give out. I also liked how the students’ helped out in building; nothing says college pride like actually building your campus. I think my favorite part is that this campus has a Frank Lloyd Wright gift shop on their campus.
    This article was really insightful and I am going to research this place more for my presentation, but thank you for doing this article and helping me get started.

  28. ahmed almazrouei

    As a student, I think what motivates me to go to school is the beauty and the environment of the school I’m going to. What Frank Lloyd Wright try to do is the same thing, what he wanted to do is make the school so beautiful in its designs and shape, not to only motivate the students to go to school, however to show them that this beauty, a student of this school can design better. I believe what he tried to accomplish from the goal of designing Florida Southern College, “FSC” is that to make the students learn from his designs and try to make something better or similar to his styles. Actually, the use of natural light and intricate stone detailing makes this building very original. All the buildings appear to be timeless; they will continue to grow in beauty as time goes on. I think it more colleges should put effort into making their campus a piece of artistic design instead of just buildings placed together. I have not taken advantage of the opportunities I’ve had to visit this campus, when our children were looking at colleges. Although I know of its architectural although I know of its architectural significance, I have not paid particular attention to it. Consequently, the photos provided in this blog were instrumental in telling the story that Frank Lloyd Wright wished to share through his architecture. Bryan mentioned his appreciation in the symbolic orange trees holding up the canopy to the walkway; I too love this! It reminds me of Gaudi’s columns at Gruel Park in Barcelona, Spain. 


  29. Joseph Hemler

    Frank Lloyd Wright is one of my favorite architects in history. The fact that he was brought in as a friend and helped the campus completely remodel on such a small budget was incredible. One of my favorite structures is the walkway with the pillars representing the citrus groves of Florida. Frank Wright’s take on a citrus tree is very creative and enjoyable to the eyes. His use of triangular shapes to represent a tree is crazy but it works.
    The large church with huge stained glass windows in one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen. So many different geometrical shapes are used in the room its amazing how well the room goes together. There are squares, rectangles, triagles, vertical lines, and horizontal lines all in the same room. How the stained glass window’s lines make a cube is crazy to look at.
    One of my favorite things about all of Frank Wrights structures at Florida Southern College is the fact that none of the buildings are symmetrical about any axis, all of the buildings are created differently and beautifully.
    I love the natural lighting used inside the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel, the sun windows making an arch at the top of the chapel is not only beautiful but natural and environmentally friendly.
    The circular shape of what appears to be the library is so cool, I have never seen a building so open and so circular. The use of curved furniture was awesome how no matter what your perspective is in the library it all looks the same. I wish some of the buildings at FIT looked half a sweet as FLW’s buildings.

  30. David Scott

    Most of my research relating to historic preservation and presentations given all relate to Frank Lloyd Wright and his astonishing work that has contributed to the design world in a major way. I am not surprised that I am commenting on his work once more. Though most of his work is concentrated further north of the United States, due to its flexibility and versatility, the fact that he designed a stunning college in the Sunshine State of Florida is not another surprising encounter. It is very unexpected to be reading in this article that Frank Lloyd Wright was on what seemed to be a downward slope of success and needed to make up for that with other extravagant designs and collaborations. His intent was to get a signature project that would boost his career back into orbit and I think he achieved this with a bonus. The fact that he achieved this in the midst of the Great Depression just shows how hard working and intent he was to get is flawless designs out and apply them to the Florida Southern College, even if it meant utilizing local and even student labor. I cannot wait for the day when Preservationists get their wishes and acquire adequate funds to restore Frank Lloyd Wright’s structures to their original beauty. I will like to take a tour very soon for myself and also when the campus gets restored just to see what the differences were and how the original Frank Lloyd Wright floor plans and designs changed. Great article, I enjoyed reading and visualizing your experience at Florida Southern College.

  31. Tiffiny Ruehman

    I have to admit that I never knew who Frank Lloyd Wright was until I took the History of Interior Design 2 course. After that I fell in love with his designs and his use of natural surroundings. Fallingwater is my absolute favorite of all his designs. I love the way it blends into the landscape. It looks as if God put it there.
    In my wildest dreams I never thought I would have an opportunity to witness his designs for myself and that is why I was so excited to read this article. Looking at the pictures makes me want to go there all the more. It is extremely hard to say which one is my favorite because all of them are exquisite. I love how he is so abstract and the overall product is so cohesive with the environment. The perfect example of this is the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel. The building itself is very modern looking, but accentuates the surrounding areas through the use of squares for plants to grow and blend the area. I also love how he uses natural lighting through the use of what looks like glass arrow sky lighting. I could go on and on forever about all the details that he uses throughout these buildings and the landscape. It is almost overwhelming how beautiful it all really is.
    Another thing that I adore about his creations is the way he brings the outside inside. I am very inspired by this and try to incorporate it in my own designs. I believe that not only is it beautiful, it is also peaceful and therapeutic. I hope someday soon to be able to go and see everything in person. Thank you for sharing this with us. It was truly inspirational.

  32. Jennifer Scites

    A few semesters ago I very much enjoyed doing a documentary on Frank Lloyd Wright for my History II class. I was truly amazed at all of his structures such as “Falling Waters”. Until I wrote my report, I did not know much of Frank Lloyd Wright, but after learning more of him and seeing his amazing works, his use of natural surroundings and his design concepts in general, I truly fell in love. I did not, however, touch much on Wright’s work at Florida Southern College in my paper. I am very delighted you did such a remarkable job in capturing all the beautiful elements Wright put into making Florida Southern College, simply breathtaking. I had not realized we had such a treasure in our own backyard. To have someone of Wrights magnitude design such a structure here in Florida is just awesome. It is the world’s largest single site collections of Wright’s work. I love that so many details were taken into consideration and how much effort and work was put into this 20 year collaboration with Wright and the College. Not long ago it was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service and the College wants to continue to preserve the remaining Wright structures on campus, enabling future generations the ability to enjoy this most breathtaking site. I will definitely have to make a trip to the campus in Lakeland one day soon. To be able to see such a site with my own eyes, would be exciting. Perhaps this will be a class trip again in the near future.

  33. amna murshed

    I remember talking about this topic, the Florida Southern College building that was built and designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, in the principles of interior design class and also about Frank Lloyd Wright, and his architectural achievements. Frank Lloyd Wright was very much ahead of his time, his architectural style and design. I enjoy learning more about Frank Lloyd Wright, especially about his inspirations, which are democratic spirit of America and the opportunities the countries afforded. It really amazes me how he was inspired by such things during the industrial revolution and the great depression. Frank Lloyd Wright was original with his architectural style and design, and also called his architectural style “organic”. Frank Lloyd Wright wanted to create an “American Architectural style”, that was favored by America’s citizens; with his own architectural style that her created, he was avoiding the European Architectural style that the country imported at that time and the created a style of his own. Now that is a true architect in my point of view. Because being different is ALWAYS unique, and admired and appreciated by certain people.
    The Florida Southern College campus that Frank Lloyd Wright built is indeed a fascinating living proof of how amazing and outstanding Frank Lloyd Wright was!! Till this day, even as interior designers, we can learn from his inspirations and his architectural achievements. The Florida Southern College campus is truly a treasure and a signature of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work.
    Its in my bucket list to visit The Florida Southern College campus and also Falling waters as well.

    -“Frank Lloyd Wright” franklloydwright.org. Web. NP.ND. Date accessed June/01/2014

  34. Doreen Muller

    To be honest, I had no idea Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Florida Southern College! I was surprised as well to learn that this iconic architect would in fact design a small college campus in the heart of Florida. It sounds like it was beneficial for both Frank Lloyd Wright and Dr. Spivey, as well as central of Florida. I am thrilled that it is designated a National Historic Landmark and that it may be restored to its original state.
    His Concept for the campus “A Child of the Sun” is Brilliant! He certainly follows through with the radiating lines and organic circular shape of the Library. I would assume all the windowpanes he incorporated thoughout the buildings in the campus would illustrate a unique display of light and shadows in the space by enhancing the architectural details. The colorful window wall behind the altar is a very unique focal point in and of itself, let alone the warm glow that must radiate off of it when the sun is shining through, wow! The tiny colored glass inserts throughout enhances his concept by bringing the outside, in, even further.
    Personally, I love the weathered copper trim and the idea of the column supports being an abstract representation of orange trees. I have seen that sporadic display of landscape incorporated in concrete before, but with trees. I really like the look of the low bushes. I would absolutely love to tour this campus! How exciting would it be to be able to walk through the inside of an architect mind?

  35. Antwan Mingo

    Frank Lloyd Wright certainly has an expansive, and very famous, architectural portfolio. His most notable works, such as Fallingwater and the Guggenheim Museum, are easily recognized by the general public. However his contribution to the state of Florida is virtually unrecognized, even to native Floridians! I am constantly surprised by all that is still unknown to me of my home state! Even after an internet search of Frank Lloyd Wright, only one website out of five mentioned Florida Southern College, and even then only stated “and several buildings for Florida State College.” Wow!
    The pictures in this article really highlighted the way Wright was able to bring the outdoors in. He termed his style “organic architecture,” and focused on constructing buildings in harmony with humanity and nature. This is especially evident in the natural lighting present throughout the college. I noticed in my research that Frank Lloyd Wright preferred to build structures to fit the natural landscape, instead of altering the land to fit his needs as we so often do today. It seems he used cantilevering often, as a mechanism to add man-made constructions in irregular terrain without additional materials. Fallingwater, the home he built on a waterfall in Pennsylvania, is the perfect example of using cantilevers instead of support columns and such to capture the beauty of the natural landscape around the house. I see in this article that he built a cantilevered walkway for this college, probably to preserve the natural slope of the campus toward the lake.

  36. Jeanne Diehl-Shaffer

    Antwan, your comments are very insightful. I am glad that you are being exposed to things you did not know existed in Florida.

  37. Justin Champion

    I will start by saying that anything that Frank Lloyd wright designed and created it truly amazing and he is one of my favorite designers. I have never been the Lakeland campus to see his works. Next time I pass by on the way to Tampa I know I will be doing a pit stop to see these in person! I think its really interesting how he studied the Florida weather and understood the light and heat issues when creating these buildings. You take so many things for granted and really miss some interesting and important things in these older buildings.
    The way he used colored glass and cement to make a piece of art/building that changes as the sun moves across the sky and lets light in all at the same time. I am glad he chose to build this campus and hope to one day soon visit this amazing complex of buildings.
    Frank Lloyd Wright was so ahead of his time when creating his buildings, from the shapes, to the materials used. It truly is great that these building are being preserved and kept for many generations ahead to see and understand how design has moved over time.

  38. Kara Vonada

    Frank Lloyd Wright is by far one of my favorite architects. He was so ahead of his time, it was just unreal. I fell in love with his falling water residence several years ago. Up until I took one of Lesa’s classes last year, I never realized he had designed the buildings at Florida Southern College. His concept, was pure genius. “A child of the Sun” in the sunshine state, what an idea! Lesa mentioned he wanted to “bring God’s outdoors into man’s indoors” it seems like such a simple concept, but no one had thought of it before. Frank Lloyd Wright always had a way of intriguing me. From his abstract yet simple concepts, to the wonderful execution of his plans. There aren’t many architects who can even touch this level of genius. Since the buildings on this campus were constructed and designed during the Great Depression, there wasn’t much Wright could do for money or labor. He relied on student labor and local materials for the success of this project. Without the help of the community, this school would’ve never been what it is today. Although it is not in as great of shape as the falling water residence, with the right team of preservationist, it could easily be brought back to its original state. The most wonderful thing about Frank Lloyd Wright’s work was his perception of forward thinking and abstract designs. This is what brought him ahead of his time, he was able to use simple lines and circular shapes to bring the outdoors in.

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