May The Sun Never Set on Wright’s “Child of the Sun”

by | Nov 26, 2007

“I have no money with which to build the modern American campus, but if you’ll design the buildings, I’ll work night and day to raise the means.” -Dr. Ludd Spivey, President of Florida Southern College, appealing to Frank Lloyd Wright in 1938

Lakeland, Florida is an old school Florida town with lovely lakes, a vital downtown core and a private college with the largest single collection of Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings anywhere in the world.

inside Annie Pfeiffer Chapel at Florida Southern

We arrived on campus the Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving which meant that the visitor center was closed. However, the walking tour was all the more pleasant without students or crowds of any sort to distract from the main show. And what a show! FLW went all out in Lakeland and I kept thinking as we wandered around the former orange grove how nice it would be to spend four years on this campus, or longer if one were a faculty member or administrator.

Florida Southern is a private liberal arts school. They don’t have an architecture program. However, the school would do well to start one, or better yet a program in achitectural preservation and restoration. Given that many of the buildings were built in part by students working in return for tuition and board, there would something poetic about a new group of students engaged in preservation of this national treaure.

For more images from the campus, see my Flickr set.