Burden or Blessing at Florida Southern College?

JULY 2014

A quick midweek trip to Florida resulted in an opportunity to visit Florida Southern College to see the collection of twelve Frank Lloyd Wright designed structures on their campus. I must admit that my reaction to the buildings was not a good one. The best description would be an internal shout of “What were you thinking, Frank?” in response to the disrepair of and modifications to buildings that were just not well-suited to the central Florida climate.

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Regardless of whether or not they are appropriate to their environment, their shapes and lines are beautiful, and they are a truly unique collection that is not to be missed. The library, the water dome and exterior of the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel were the highlights for me. I LOVED the esplanades and Wright’s brilliance shown in these covered walkways most of all for me. Had it not been scorchingly hot, I would have been tempted to skip down each esplanade between the buildings out of sheer delight. They provided the much needed shade from hot Florida sun and an allure to the campus.

The new Usonian house built on the campus in 2013 from an original set of plans amplifies the contrast between the aged and new. Modern building materials and techniques versus their earlier counterparts are also highlighted by the new structure and the repairs to originals. I can only imagine the influx of cash it would take to restore all the buildings to their original condition. I cannot imagine the difficulty in operating a college within its budget with the responsibility, scrutiny and politics associated with maintaining these special pieces of history.

Dear Joel Silver,

Surely you have a wealthy friend who has admired your beautifully restored Auldbrass Plantation, would enjoy a similar process and has the resources to complete the entire project. Please partner with him or her and go save restore this collection.

Thank you,
Frank Fanatic

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