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FLORIDA SOUTHERN COLLEGE
Lakeland, Florida, United States
Located on a hillside overlooking Lake Hollingsworth, Florida Southern College contains the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the world. The master plan for the institution, described by Wright as "the first uniquely American campus," was created in 1938.
The first and most significant of the buildings, the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Chapel, was constructed between 1939 and 1941. Over the next two decades, nine more buildings, a “water dome” fountain, and nearly 1.25 miles (2 kilometers) of esplanades were constructed.
The textile blocks that make up the buildings of Florida Southern’s campus are failing, due in part to water infiltration, which has corroded the iron bars that hold them together. The deterioration has been exacerbated by deferred maintenance and inappropriate repairs. In addition to the technical challenges of conserving the textile blocks, the difficulty in sympathetically adapting the Wright-designed buildings for modern use presents an obstacle to the conservation program.
HOW WE HELPED
The World Monuments Watch listing in 2008 has helped Florida Southern College raise awareness and obtain new funding to address the conservation problems of its Wright-designed buildings. In spring 2009, WMF convened an international meeting of Wright scholars, architects, architectural conservators, and preservation experts to study the textile block problems at Florida Southern. These experts included Frank Lloyd Wright’s grandson, architect Eric Lloyd Wright, who has worked on several textile block restoration projects. The proceedings and recommendations from this meeting were published in the summer of 2010.
WHY IT MATTERS
Although Wright’s master plan for Florida Southern College was never fully executed, the campus was Wright's longest commission and client relationship, spanning 30 years.
In March 2012, Wright's campus was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.
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