Florida Southern College
2008 World Monuments Watch
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. Although Wright’s master plan for Florida Southern College was never fully executed, the campus was his longest commission and client relationship, spanning 30 years.
Attention from the Watch helps to secure funding
Water infiltration and other problems caused textile blocks to fail, which corroded the iron bars that hold them together. The deterioration was 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 was an obstacle to a conservation program.
The World Monuments Watch listing in 2008 helped Florida Southern College obtain new funding to address the conservation problems. In 2009, we convened an international meeting of Wright scholars, architects, architectural conservators, and preservation experts, including Wright’s grandson, architect Eric Lloyd Wright, who had worked on several textile block restoration projects. In 2012, Wright's campus was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.