Florida Southern College

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SDR
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Florida Southern College

Post by SDR »

Here are some images of the college campus that I haven't seen.

http://media.npr.org/programs/atc/featu ... index.html

NPR apparently plans a program on the restoration of the campus.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/stor ... d=14933254

SDR

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

I wonder if the restoration will include replanting the orange grove, one of the essential design elements?

RJH
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Post by RJH »

I have actually been to FSC. Before going, I never thought much of the designs. I was pleasantly surprised. One of my fondest memories was walking under the esplanade. The low ceiling and sheltering affect was magnificent. Upon walking further, the esplanade had me arrive at terraced courtyard/faculty building area. All you can hear was this mysterious background noise echoing from a small hidden fountain.

I also don’t believe that visitors appreciate the small colored glass in the concrete brick walls. When inside the building, the lights become very amazing.

I have been on quite a few college campuses in my time. I would say this one is the most peaceful.

FTA
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Post by FTA »

Thanks for sharing the images, SDR.
Former Taliesin Apprentice

SDR
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Post by SDR »

The article was posted by the moderator at archinect.com
I get the Times online (it's free) but missed that one.

I'd never seen color images of the interiors -- esp. those red windows ! There's a rendering of a circular block house for the chancellor or somebody -- was it built ?

SDR

johnnyapollo
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Post by johnnyapollo »

I swung by there way back when I used to travel between a home in Atlanta and one in Pompano (I worked for a record label and alternated between Florida, Atlanta, Austin and Nasville) - I really didn't have the appreciation of FLW then as I do now - at the time I wasn't too impressed (it was in a fairly bad state). It's good to see such a wonderful structure once again coming back to life. I'm planning another visit soon.

-- John
"Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right."
-Henry Ford

http://www.modusmodern.com
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SDR
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Post by SDR »

It's certainly not the wood-and-stone (or brick) Wright that I love -- but Wright always surprises with space, light and sequence. A master in any medium. . .

SDR

DRN
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Post by DRN »

A few tidbits...

My wife and I had the pleasure of a tour in late 1998 given by a family friend who attended the College in 1950-54. He recalled urine donation to treat the copper and he recalled shoveling a lot of sand from the site into mixers. He also recalled a site visit by Wright whom he described as "very well dressed" and always surrounded by "administrators and people with note pads". Our friend studied citrus agriculture at the College and had a career in citus farming until his retirement. When we were there, there were few orange trees remaining on the grounds. Our friend noted the trees required alot of maintenance: pruning, harvesting, treatments, irrigation in drought etc. He noted the trees were removed as they died and were not replaced. I wonder if new trees could be planted and leased to a grower or maintained as an agriculture lab for new varieties or other tests. They have the benefit of being relatively isolated from commercial groves.
It was interesting when I asked how tall the trees typically were, our friend pointed at a Wright building and noted "they were about the height of the top of the blocks over there". He remembered the campus seeming bigger when the trees were there and some of the buildings only being visible right when you reached them or from down certain rows of trees. I guess the trees were important to the design...they provided a grid in plan and a veil in perspective.


SDR- The house Wright designed for President Ludd Spivey was not constructed. Money was always tight and efforts were focused on campus buildings that would provide student/faculty educational/support space.

Paul Ringstrom
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Post by Paul Ringstrom »

Response from Anne Kerr, President of Florida Southern College:

"We do not yet have a full plan for campus landscaping. Some of our considerations as we continue our landscape design discussions are related to the green campus initiative and a goal to use fewer pesticides and chemicals. I will keep you posted."

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

The 2001 Conference was held there (not long after 9/11, which may have had an effect on turnout). The true remaining masterpiece of the campus is the Pfeiffer Chapel (Danforth, not so much); the absent masterpiece is the orange grove that controlled the experience of the campus. At the Gala Dinner, each guest received a colored glass insert as a party favor. SDR, the Ludd Sivey House was not built, although there was an effort to construct it not so long ago. Of all FLW's designs, that may be the weirdest, and I think it is not a tragedy that it did not get built.

dkottum
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Ludd Sivey house project

Post by dkottum »

I got to thinking about the Ludd Sivey house project again, and although weird, it is also interesting. Its design and material seems to follow the campus buildings, in a usonian context. That in mind, I think its a pretty nice building.

But the weird part may be there are no windows, as we know windows, at the circular living room ground floor. Instead the concrete block is all perforated, to let in light, and provide maybe a controlled view outside. Needing more view, you may go up to the living room balcony. This looks like a very nice space for this particular site.

Back to weird, and we expect Wright to think differently. Is the upper living room open to weather all around? Comments?

Doug Kottom, Battle Lake

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Pfeiffer's text for the house, in Monograph 6, calls the upper-level view deck "the balcony of the living room below"; the living room itself is enclosed by the block-and-glass screen. Wright seemed intent on building for the local climate, though sometimes ignoring conditions (open carports in the wintry north) and sometimes going overboard to accomodate them, I suppose -- though an open covered deck seems a nice amenity in hot and sometimes rainy Florida.

The perspective view of the house is an example of Wright's tendency to allow imperfect rendition of arcs in drawings of circular projects; while he insists on plausible and convincing shadow effects, he seems blind to badly-drawn ellipses. Drawings of the spiral Automobile Objective, the Windfohr house (Fort Worth, 1949) and Sea Cliff (Scheme Two) (San Francisco, 1954) are other examples of unfortunate renderings of circular schemes in perspective. (John Howe's drawings, if I can distinguish them correctly, seem to be spared this indignity.)

Image

(Moreover, this perspective suffers from an anomaly: if the horizon line runs through the middle of the lower drum, the shoreline as drawn to the right is an impossibility.)

There is a second version of this scheme, for another Florida client, a Dr Alfred Bergman, in 1947.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

However pleasant an occasional breezy day on the screened balcony might be, methinks overall having a living room open to the outside year-around in Florida would not be a good thing. The openings in the blocks are tiny, about 2" x 3", of red or yellow glass. The upper balcony extends over part of the living room, leaving a 16' 6" well, partially obscured by the large chimney. I'm sure it would be dark, dank and unpleasant. Also, the stairs to the balcony are outside and unprotected, inviting bi- and quadrupeds to jump over parapet into the living room at their leisure. It would indeed be a remarkable looking structure, but hardly a livable house.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Colored glass, especially filtering the primary source of daylight, seems a mistake to me.

I see what you mean about the section and its implications.

Image
Image

RJH
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Post by RJH »

Just some of my thoughts on the Spivey design.

When I visited FSC it was extremely HOT and the sun was blasting away. It must have been close to 100F. I don’t recall what season of the year was. When I went in many of the building it was quite comfortable, sheltered from the sun and cool inside even though the A/C was not on. I specifically remember this in the larger chapel (I think Danforth). What was very nice was towards the very rear of the chapel behind all the pews was a darkish area with a solid almost 2 story wall of perforated colored ( red, yellow and blue) glass. It was VERY nice space and extremely beautiful. I just stood there stunned because the small colored glass was perfect. If this is what the lower level of Spivey would look like I would call it a success. Even if Rod hadn’t mentioned his worry about dark and dank space I would still have posted this experience right up there with my esplanade experience because it made that much of an impact on me. One question I always keep asking is, “How did Wright know?�

Furthermore, the glass is very small. It exactly measurers 2.25� x 3� and some of the tiny smaller glass squares are only 0.50�.

I’ve learned to always give Wright the benefit of the doubt. I’ve visited too many Wright designs where I thought before visiting in person they were not that great - but only to be totally wrong afterwards. Haynes being a prime example.

Rod, by the way I sent John Geiger small Haynes drawings for his analysis. He already told me this a while back ago:
Haynes would rank somewhere with the better work for that time frame. It is a very good house.
I hope to post his analysis soon.

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