Thursday, April 13, 2017

Going To School With Frank

Florida Southern college has the largest concentration of Frank Lloyd Wright designed structures in the world. The president of the university in the 30’s, commissioned wright to design the College of the future and in 1938, construction began on the Frank Lloyd Wright designed campus. Today almost 80 years later, the Wright designed campus remains a spectacular sight, but the college is struggling to maintain the buildings which were designed for a dry California and Arizona climate. In many places the damp and rain of Florida had shown some weakness in the otherwise beautiful designs.

Water Dome
I discovered a simple self guided tour was available and I picked up a brochure that allowed us to explore at our own pace. Although a few buildings were labeled “Open to the Public”, all the buildings are part of a collage campus, so it was actually easy to get into most buildings to explore on our own.

Most buildings share common themes, of triangles, and circles and are constructed with unique interlocking concrete blocks with coloured glass inserts, and copper accents on the roof. This coloured glass can be seen throughout, and one kind administrator, invited us in and turned out her office lights to show us the light coming through the glass pieces. All of the buildings are connected by over a mile of lovely covered Espanades, providing shade and shelter to students moving between buildings.
Design by Frank Lloyd Wright

Central to the entire campus is the water dome, a 160 ft water fountain that under full power created a complete 45 ft high dome of water. Unfortunately, the technology did not exist in 1948 to actually make it work, but in 2007, it was restored and can now create the dome Wright envisioned.

These buildings, almost 80 years old, still look spectacularly modern, and are a tribute to one of the architectural geniuses of the century.

No comments:

Post a Comment