The almost 75-year-old blueprints of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright for Florida Southern College (FSC) in Lakeland, Fla., are finally a reality. The “Usonian” home is yet another Wright structure located on the FSC campus, home to the world’s largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings.
The “Usonian” home, designed in 1939 as a residence for faculty, refers to Wright’s ideas for simple, modest houses for middle-class Americans. Wright used the term “Usonian” to describe his vision for designing the new American landscape devoid of any Old World characteristics in an effort to create a unique American architectural identity.
The structure features built-in furniture characteristic of Wright’s “Usonian” style, along with roughly 2,000 interlocking textile blocks and close to 6,000 colored glass blocks—all of which were handcrafted by artisans.
While it was originally designed to house FSC professors, the new Wright building will serve as the central focus of FSC’s Sharp Family Tourism and Education Center, a new development designed to educate visitors about the prominence of Wright’s architecture on the campus. The college offers a variety of campus tours oriented around the works of the beloved architect.
Wright was at the peak of his career when he began working to build a “college of tomorrow” at FSC. From 1938 to 1959, he built an entire campus from scratch—a plan that included 18 structures. During Wright’s lifetime, 12 of those structures were completed on the FSC campus.
The “Usonian” home is the thirteenth Wright structure in the collection, and the first new Wright building for the campus in 55 years.
The FSC campus will also house a newly-constructed life-size bronze statue of Frank Lloyd Wright sculpted by artists Don Haugen and Teena Stern, as well as a rare portrait of Wright by Yousuf Karsh.
FSC has received several recognitions in recent years, including designation as National Historic Landmark in 2012 and one of Princeton Review’s Most Beautiful Campus in America (#1 in 2011 and 2012; #3 in 2013).