Text and photos (c) Mark Hertzberg
The sun rises over Annie Pfeiffer Chapel, left, and Danforth Chapel at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida March 13. The college is the largest single-site collection of buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. College president Dr. Ludd Spivey commissioned Wright to design the college campus master plan and the buildings in 1938. Twelve structures designed by Wright were built over a twenty year time span from 1938 to 1958. The Waterdome and the Esplanades are considered two of the 12 completed structures).
A thirteenth building, a Usonian home designed for faculty housing, was completed in 2013. It serves as a guest relations center for tour guests.
We had the privilege of a behind-the-scenes tour of the Wright-designed buildings on campus with Mark Tlachac.
The Annie Pfeiffer Chapel, with its carillon tower, below, is the best known of the Wright buildings.
The smaller, more intimate William H. Danforth Chapel is adjacent to the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel. Its “prow” is somewhat similar to Wright’s Unitarian Meeting House near Madison.
The Esplanades, which Wright designed to shield people from the sun and rain, were my favorite subject. Wright designed them as evocative of citrus trees. The first photo is the projected shadow of one of the columns at sunrise.
I also liked the original Roux Library. The building has been remodeled, but Wright’s lower level reading room is still similar
as when built.
Jeff Baker, an architect from Albany, New York, is working with the college on the restoration of many aspects of the buildings.