Florida Southern College, a reminder of one of America's great architects

"Child of the Sun" is the name of the group of structures that make up the Frank Lloyd Wright architecture at Florida Southern College in Lakeland.  

Wright was an American architect who designed more than a thousand structures, and about half came to life. He believed in innovative creations that harmonized with its surroundings. The private institution of Florida Southern College is no exception, which is now in the National Register of Historic Places.

There are 12 original structures, from buildings to a fountain known as the "Water Dome." The walkways between the buldings, known as the "Esplanades," are roughly 6 feet, 4 inches. It is part of Wright's philosophy on architecture, explained Mark Tlachac, a Frank Lloyd Wright Consultant for Florida Southern College.

"When you go into a Frank Lloyd Wright building, at the entrance, the ceilings are lowered," said Tlachac. "He wants you to feel compressed. When you move in, the ceilings soar. That's the release. Compression to release."

Among the 12 original Wright structures, the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel has been restored. At the beginning, it and the other structures were built by students. It was during the Great Depression and students were offered free education to help build the structures.  

Dr. Ludd Spivey was the school's president from 1925 to 1957. He wanted to put this campus on the map. So, he contacted Wright. He came and designed the eighteen structures. Twelve built over a period of 20 years.

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Recently, another was constructed: a faculty house. 

Together, the Frank Lloyd Wright structures at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, make up the greatest concentration of Wright's work on one site, for one client in the world. School officials don't want you to think of this as a museum. Instead, think of the structures as more of a living, breathing thing. 

Anyone can schedule a tour of the campus by clicking over to flsouthern.edu.