If you love Florida history and architecture, make sure you take a tour of Florida Southern College in Lakeland, one of the most beautiful college campuses in the world. The stories and artistry behind America’s most celebrated architect Frank Lloyd Wright are not only fascinating but visually in a league of their own!
How fortunate we are that they are part of Central Florida’s eclectic landscape. Factoid: The oldest private college in Florida, Florida Southern College was founded in Orlando in 1883 as South Florida Institute.
Wright was born June 8, 1867, in Richland Center, Wisconsin, less than 25 miles from the site of his famous home, Taliesin, in Spring Green. Among his many other architectural achievements are the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, the Fallingwater House in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, and the SC Johnson Wax Administration Building in Racine, Wisconsin.
As you may or may not know, Florida Southern College is home to 13 Wright-designed structures, 12 of which were built during the architect’s lifetime and under his supervision. The newest addition, the Usonian Faculty House, was designed by Wright in 1939 but wasn’t built until 2013.
In 2012, the Florida Southern College Historic District was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior for being the largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in the world.
The legendary designer had a 20-year relationship with the College, following his first campus visit in 1936. Developing a “Temple of Education”, Wright’s distinctively modern vision of “organic architecture” emphasized simplicity and natural beauty and was ahead of its time on many levels.