Architecture Monday

While I was in Florida to view the Inspiration4 Dragon launch, I headed away from the cape in order to go visit something rather nifty and not very well known:  a college campus designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

From the master plan to 18 buildings (of which 13 were built), this is perhaps the largest collection of FLW-designed buildings in a single place.  And it’s a fascinating collection too, incorporating a number of signature FLW elements that don’t often show up together, be it the decorative abstract motifs of the Hollyhock house and the windows of his Prairie buildings, his textile blocks (here inset with coloured glass, quite beautiful), Usonian space planning, and more.  Both the dean of the college and FLW were keen on creating something that weren’t attached to the traditions of the old but stretched out to embrace new concepts and aesthetics.

The campus is also known as the “Child of the Sun”, from FLW’s vision of buildings growing out of the ground and into the light.  While the site is currently full of big lawns, they were originally designed to remain as orange groves.  Unfortunately a recent-ish weather event wiped most of them out, but there is a plan to replant so that the long esplanades – that themselves are a representation of the orange tree – are once again nestled within the groves as intended.

Quite remarkable, and really great to tour and experience the campus, both inside and out.  FLW certainly is a whole host of contradictions, but a lot of his works really are quite dang cool.

Florida Southern College by Frank Lloyd Wright

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