“We are beginning to learn that the highest and finest kind of morality is beauty.” -Frank Lloyd Wright, Oct. 25, 1951 at Florida Southern College

Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision of a spectacular “water dome” at the heart of one of his most ambitious projects was finally realized on October 24th (70 years after he designed it), when Florida Southern College turned on 74 high-pressure jets that create a graceful 45-foot-high dome of illuminated droplets above a basin 160 feet in diameter.

The water dome was a central feature of Wright’s design for the college. But the pumps available at the time proved significantly less powerful than Wright’s imagination, and the fountain was eventually divided in three smaller pools with walkways between them.

The college is in the midst of several projects aimed at restoring its Wright-designed structures, including the fountain, the larger of two chapels, and Wright’s striking esplanades — cantilevered walkways that connect his buildings. The effort to recreate the water dome as Wright envisioned it cost nearly $1-million. The college will need close to $50 million to complete all the Wright restoration it has slated.

[via The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Ledger and NPR]

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Architecture