Expansion

03/24/09

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Florida Southern College and the Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright

"...out of the ground and into the light, a child of the sun."
Frank Lloyd Wright describing work at Florida Southern College.

 

The pace of construction slowed dramatically during the World War II years, 1941 - 1945.  The E. T. Roux Library was under construction during this period and finally opened in 1945.  It is now called the Thad Buckner Building and used as a meeting and visitor center.

 

 

The image to the left shows the E. T. Roux Library under construction with the completed Annie Pfeiffer Chapel in the background.

From The Interlachen, 1950, images courtesy of Special Collections, Florida Southern College Library, Lakeland, FL

On the right is another picture of the same building under construction.  The sandcast blocks used in the construction were cast on site.

 

 

 

 

 

Shown below is the Thad Buckner Building as it appears today. 

 

The interior of the main assembly space is essentially original with many furnishings designed by Wright.  A view is shown below along with an image of the ceiling detail.

 

 

The visitor center contains Wright memorabilia, original furnishings, historical documents, photos, and a gift shop.
Ceiling detail is shown at left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At right is a 1948 image showing the fireplace and casework which still exist.

From The Interlachen, 1948, image courtesy of Special Collections, Florida Southern College Library, Lakeland, FL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the War, the pace of expansion picked up again.  The next group of structures to be completed were the Watson - Fine Administration Building complex, and the Water Dome both completed in 1948.

 

 

Shown right is an image of the Administration Buildings during construction with students participating.

Image courtesy of Special Collections, Florida Southern College Library, Lakeland, FL

 

 

 

 

And below the buildings as they appear today.

 

 

A view of the reflecting pool, fountain and entrance to the Administration Buildings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Water Dome was originally conceived by Wright to be a circular pool with a dome of water created by fountain jets around the perimeter.  It is shown as such in the conceptual drawing on the introductory page.  Accounts vary as to whether the Water Dome ever worked as Wright intended.  But, in any event the large pool was converted in the 1960's to several smaller pools and a walkway surface as shown below.  It is now known as the Wall Plaza.  The Watson - Fine Administration Building is in back of the pool and fountain.

 

 

Students, faculty and visitors are not the only ones that enjoy the fountains as shown at right.

 

 

 

 

 

The following images show how the Water Dome and the Administration Buildings looked as originally constructed.


Historical image from The Interlachen, 1950, courtesy of Special Collections, Florida Southern College Library, Lakeland, FL

 


Historical image courtesy of Special Collections, Florida Southern College Library, Lakeland, FL

Shown below is an aerial view of the Wright buildings on campus as they appeared at the end of 1940's decade.  The Water Dome in the center is flanked on the left by the Carter, Walbridge, Hawkins Seminar Buildings and on the right by the Watson-Fine Administration Buildings.  Above the Water Dome is the original E. T. Roux Library now the Thad Buckner Building, and at the upper left is the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel.  Esplanades connect the Chapel, Library and Administration Buildings.


From the Interlachen 1949.  Historical image courtesy of Special Collections, Florida Southern College Library, Lakeland, FL

Additional images of the Thad Buckner Building, the Watson - Fine Administration Buildings and the Water Dome may be found in the Wright Structures Photo Gallery.  Click on the link to connect.

This website is organized chronologically and by structure.  Follow the links on each page to go to the next or skip to the page of interest.

Home | The Early Years | Expansion | Final Additions | The Future | Photo Galleries | Links and References | Acknowledgments

This site was last updated 03/12/09

The content of this website is owned by William B Carpenter. All images and text on this site are the work of William B Carpenter unless otherwise noted. 

Copyright 2005  William B Carpenter - All rights reserved.  Historical images courtesy of Special Collections, Florida Southern College Library, Lakeland, Florida.  Some historical images are from The Interlachen, Florida Southern College Yearbook.  All rights reserved.