The Early Years

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.

In 1938, work started on Annie Pfeiffer Chapel, the first and the foremost Wright building on campus.  Wright personally supervised the work which was done at least in part by FSC students.

 

 

Construction crew working on Anne Pfeiffer Chapel circa 1938
Image courtesy of Special Collections, Florida Southern College Library, Lakeland, FL

 

 

 

 

Annie Pfeiffer Chapel as it looks today is shown below.  This building is generally regarded as Wright's most noted work at FSC. Completed in 1941, it commands center stage on campus reflecting the college's religious affiliation, and the fact that Wright was a Methodist himself.

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two interior views, front and rear, of the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel are shown here.  Wright was skilled at featuring light in his buildings as these images testify.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another view of Annie Pfeiffer Chapel.  Wright's buildings frequently incorporate ship-like features such as the cantilevered side upper level balconies on the chapel which resemble a ship's bridge.

 

 

 

 

The Wright-designed sand-cast blocks used in the construction of the chapel incorporate colored glass insets which help create a unique interior environment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annie Pfeiffer Chapel occupies the central point of Wright's campus design, and is sited at the point where the gradual elevation rise from Lake Hollingsworth levels off.  As such, it can be seen from every point on campus and almost every point around the lake.

For more views of Annie Pfeiffer Chapel, including historical images made during construction, click on the link to the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel Photo Gallery.

The Carter, Walbridge and Hawkins Seminar Buildings, shown below, were placed under construction while the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel was being built and were also completed in 1941.  Originally three separate buildings with breezeways between, they were combined into a single administration building sometime after opening.  The combined building has the same use today.

The extensive network of Esplanades was put under construction in 1940 also at the beginning of the project.  These cantilevered, covered walkways were to be the threads that bound Wright's separate building designs into an organic whole.  Current views and a construction image are shown below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more Esplanade images, click on the link to the Wright Structures Photo Gallery.

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.

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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.