Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Frank Lloyd Wright - Genius

A while back I promised a re-visit to the campus of Florida Southern University, the core campus of which was designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.  Probably like many of you, I know of Wright, have seen his books and photos of his works.  I even made it to Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona once only to find it closed for renovation.  But this visit to the Florida Southern campus with my buddy Punch a couple of weeks ago was the first time I have been able to immerse myself in one of his works.

It could hardly have been more perfect.  Early on a Sunday morning.  The campus to ourselves.  When we finally encountered a security guard, she stopped to tell us that the chapel was open and that we were welcome to go in.

I have to tell you, you cannot appreciate this man's genius until you visit one of his creations.  It takes control of your senses.  I found myself being lead as if through a ring in my nose... by my eyes.  Shadows and light.  Angles and focal points, all worked together to draw me ever deeper into the structures.  It was fascinating.

I have prepared a few photos (none of which do the place justice).  I hope you enjoy.

The main building.

Plazas, people spaces, beckon toward portals that promise enlightenment within.

The campus is connected by covered walks that, with their angles, overhang and ornate details, are a feast for the eyes as you walk about in a lush, green Florida environment.

Wright's trademark use of personal enclosure, tight dark spaces opening to bright, endless space is apparent everywhere.  The dynamics of space and light are amazing.  Sadly, the buildings are in need of serious repair, something the college is undertaking with limited funds.

Inside of the main chapel.  A riot of texture and light.


  1. Let me be the first to comment. As I was there, and will follow suit, I have to say these are well see photogrpahs. And they do the place justice. Stunning.

  2. Thank you Punch. Looking forward to your reply.

  3. When I found Mr. Punch mentioned, I clicked right away to see with whom you spend a gentle hour or two; thank you, dear Mr. Charleston, I am happy that you mix in only the best company.

    Let me repeat my pathetic little words of appreciation of the campus here:

    A wonderful place, I wish I could see it, be there and follow the lines for myself.

    Both of you have taken excellent photos.

  4. Thank you Friko. It's a mutual admiration society.

  5. Almost makes you a believer, it does. Wright was a sculptor of spaces.

    Now that you're hooked, you might want to read Loving Frank...a biographical novel that focuses on his second wife's strange life, but reveals more about Frank than about the protagonist.

  6. There is a Wright house here near Silverton that looks, inside and out, like a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike. I guess I find that comforting.

  7. Nance, thanks for the tip.

    Brewster... could be Wright designed the rest stops too! Or perhaps one of his less successful students.

  8. I just left you a kick-ass comment and blogger ate it. Let's see if I can recreate it.

    Having lived in Chicago, I saw many a FLW creation. Honestly, I couldn't live in one of his homes, but they are magnificant to see. My main man is his teacher, Sullivan, who created some of the most gorgeous architecture in America. Unfortunately, most of it was torn down in Chicago by the 60s thanks to Richard J. Daley, who built expressways, housing projects and general bullshit in its place. One of the greatest outrages in any city is the tearing down of landmarks as we will never be able to make anything like it again.

  9. Greetings from the Amish community of Lebanon,Pa.


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