During our travels we have visited several homes and buildings built by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Our favorite is Taliesin the home, school and studio Wright built near Spring Green, Wisconsin where he grew up. If you are ever in that area, Taliesin is worth a visit.
When we learned that the largest collection of buildings on one site created by Wright existed at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, we had to visit!
The 90 minute guided tour first took us to the Usonian faculty house. Usonian is an architectural style created by Wright to provide a simple, stylish small house of moderate cost designed especially for the American middle class.
Located in the heart of the campus, the Pfeiffer Chapel – with its iconic, 65-foot-tall bell tower – would be the nation’s first college chapel with an architecturally modern design, its interior defined by massive vaulted skylights framing the natural heavens above.
The Danforth Chapel, a smaller meditation chapel was built later.
Other buildings designed by Wright are the administration building, library, science building, the circular Water Dome and industrial arts building. Because Florida has a rainy season, he designed a system of covered walkways connecting his buildings known as The Esplanade that winds one and a half miles through campus.
Wright designed a building system using tapestry blocks made of concrete mixing in native sands and crushed shells. The concrete blocks had colored pieces of glass embedded that sparkled like jewels in the sunlight.
Geometric thematic elements echo throughout the campus such as cutouts in the roof of the esplanades that resemble butterfly wings and columns that resemble abstract citrus trees stamped in poured concrete.