Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Wright School

"Which college should I attend?"  That's a question that has many seniors tied up in knots as the end of their high school days draws near. They're concerned that they make it into the right school. 

What isn't on the favored college list of most seniors is Florida Southern College, a Methodist-affiliated school of approximately 2,800 students in Lakeland, FL.  Yet, it is the Wright school--the school that noted American architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed.  

This weekend Tim and I are in Lakeland for Auto Fest, a show of vintage and classic automobiles. At least Tim is here for the car show. I'm more interested in spending time with Patty, a friend from my college days who now resides in Lakeland. And what could be more right for two college buddies than to check out the Wright campus! 

Florida Southern College boasts the largest collection of Wright's work in the world. Between 1938 and 1958, twelve of the college's structures were built from Wright's designs and under his guidance.  The 13th building, the Usonian House, was completed according to Wright's blueprints in 2013.  

We knew we were in the Wright place when we saw so many of his signature features in the buildings: 

Stained glass made up of squares and elongated rectangles,

The Annie Pfeiffer Chapel

Cantilevered wings that give the impression the building is about to take flight,

Compression and release where narrow entrances with extremely low ceilings make you feel squeezed and slightly uncomfortable before you move into the main room,

Light boxes that flood interiors with sunlight,

Colored glass chips embedded in walls,

Geometric shapes like circles and triangles,

And curves--lots of curves!

The Thad Buckner Building

The Thad Buckner Building was once the E. T. Roux Library.  It still contains the original curved desks of the reading room.  Positioning linear book shelves within its circular confines must have been challenging for the librarians.

In addition to the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel shown above, there's also a small chapel on campus named the William H. Danforth Chapel. 

That made us think of our alma mater, Kansas State University, because its campus, too, has a Danforth Chapel built with funds from The William H. Danforth Foundation. 

We felt Wright at home!  


  1. I am enjoying your blog - keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks, Doug! Where are you two? I'm anticipating that the answer to that question will be found in your next posting. You are giving us ideas about where to go next!

  2. I love all the glass. It looks like a beautiful place. ("We felt Wright at home." I do love a good pun!)

    1. Yes, it is! Patty's daughter was married in the Annie Pfeiffer chapel this past October. The photographs show not only a beautiful bride but a lovely setting.