Sunday, April 08, 2007

Frank Llloyd Wright in Florida

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867 - 1959)

Connie and I recently visited the campus of Florida Southern College in Lakeland to make an architectural pilgrimage to the largest concentration of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the world. Known as the "Child of the Sun" collection, these buildings were designed by Wright for "the cultural value of organic buildings well suited to time, purpose and place."

Annie Pfeiffer Chapel (1939 - 1941)

He was commissioned by this small Methodist college in 1938 to design "a great education temple in Florida". The actual construction took place between 1941-1958 with twelve structures being completed and six left on the drawing board. Many of the buildings have been altered over the years and others have required extensive repairs and rehabilitation. His architectural vision apparently did not match the building materials of his time, while the merciless central Florida climate has not been an ally in preservation either. Several of the structures were being worked on while we were visiting as part of a multi-million dollar project to restore Wright's unique vision of organic architecture, which is one where the structures do not dominate the land but work in harmony with it.

If you ever find yourself in this neck of the woods I highly recommend that you check out this wonderful collection of offbeat and eclectic structures. There is an easy to use self-guided walking tour pamphlet available at the visitor center. Admission is free, which is always a bonus with me.

Covered walkways known as the Esplanades which total 1.5 miles in length. (1941 - 1958)

Hallway in the Polk County Science Building (1958)

Interior of the William H. Danforth Chapel (1955)

Stairway in the Science Building

The Esplanades with students walking underneath (1961).

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