Florida Southern College to build Wright design

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DRN
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Post by DRN »

I'd think a 1500SF Usonian would make a good visitor's center for FSC, considering the volume of tourists the campus draws, which seemed sporadic to me. A Usonian living dining area works well for informal groups of 1 to 30, there would be a small kitchen for refreshments, a toilet room, and bedrooms may work well as offices. The building would also work for small university receptions in off hours.
Neat idea.

Randolph C. Henning
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Post by Randolph C. Henning »

Maybe neat, but - the design was intended as a house, not a visitor's center. I can see if the house existed and then became an adaptive reuse project . . But to build it from scratch with a different use? Does anyone else see the hypocrisy? IMHO, its seems to me philosophically to be a bowl full of wrong. But I guess it could be worse - FSC could have asked Robert Stern to design one.

Wrightgeek
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Post by Wrightgeek »

Although I'm not overly impressed with the quality of that digital rendering, I do love those two cantilevers on the building.

Make note of the emphasis in the story that this will be a "ceremonial" ground-breaking. The school president mentions that they have raised half of the money needed to complete the building, or $1 million dollars. Reality is that the school really has not raised any of the funding on its own to date. The $1 million in the kitty at this point is entirely from a highly controversial funding commitment from the Polk County commissioners, the county in which FSC is located. In todays environment, that other million dollars needed to complete the project may take a while to round-up.

That said, I wish them well and hope that the college is successful in it's long-term goals to raise funds not only for the visitor's center, but for the ongoing restoration of the existing FLW buildings. It was 3-4 years ago that I visited the campus, and at that time a number of the structures were suffering from deferred maintanance issues. And in her defense, the new president of the college, Ann Kerr, has made the restoration of the Wright buildings on campus a high priority, so best of luck to her with that agenda.

BTW, I understand that this is a Wright designed building, but does $2 million seem a bit pricey for a 1500 sq. ft. structure, understanding that the land cost for the building site is obviously not factored in?

Palli Davis Holubar
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Post by Palli Davis Holubar »

There are plans for a "Spivey?" House project, I believe, and perhaps another in Monograph vol. 7...would it be possible for someone to scan them for this thread? The perf block designs may have been pictured too.

Believe me, the worry over any irony of historic architectural public spaces is already over the dam...tours marching through houses like clock work, no chance to sit or sense the house changing through out 24 hours...

RE: Cost Where are the young energetic bodies that want to build and understand on a college campus? I know, I know...
Last edited by Palli Davis Holubar on Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:47 am, edited 3 times in total.

DRN
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Post by DRN »

Granted, it is a different use, but the spaces of a Usonian do lend themselves to this function. The average tourist, tourists, or tour group arrives, enters the building, checks in, obtains maps, asks questions, possibly meets up with a tour guide...all functions that can be handled in the space of this house, not unlike the way these houses function during a cocktail party. Think about the experience during the living room portion of the Pope Leighey tour; this could be similar. I'd think the most major change, though probably doable, would be an accessible restroom(s). Elimination of the tub would help, and possibly a bedroom would become the second toilet room. Alterations yes, but I think the intention is to illustrate more of Wright's vision for the campus and to pull tour orientation functions from campus buildings better used for student functions. Building an example of the unbuilt faculty housing to serve a function requiring similar spaces, seems to me to be to the University's benefit.

Price does seem high...given the custom nature of every part of the building, I'd expect the cost to be about $500-$600/SF ($750K to $900K) say $1 million with landscaping and site work. Not sure if their price includes off street parking, etc.

Paul Ringstrom
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Post by Paul Ringstrom »

$2 million seems WAAAY too much to build this building. The university already owns the land. You can build a nice house for $250sf, so let's triple that and the cost would be less than $1M.

Image

Image

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Wrightgeek
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Post by Wrightgeek »

Good point about the off-street parking, DRN, and all of the other code requirements that must be designed and built due to the fact that this will not be a residence, but a public building. ADA compliance, fire codes (probably a sprinkler system), the parking issue, etc. And then of course, there are the hurricane codes in Florida, so it's easy to see how the costs can quickly spiral on a relatively small project like this.

But still, $2 million seems like a lot. Maybe $1-1.2 mil might seem more in line, and I think I am being generous at that. Maybe with the excess, they want to establish a subsidy fund or endowment for the maintanance and operation of the building once it is complete? Just a guess.
Last edited by Wrightgeek on Wed Mar 17, 2010 4:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jeff Myers
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Post by Jeff Myers »

I think overestimating is better than underestimating.
JAT
Jeff T

peterm
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Post by peterm »

I'm in agreement with DRN

I think that building Usonian houses for this sort of purpose is fine with me. Someone could walk away with a new perspective on how to build their own house, decorate or remodel their existing one, or even better, find and existing one or hire an architect to design one. It could be a great opportunity to expose the general public to a type of architecture previously unknown to them.

The living spaces are always generous and flexible enough to accommodate large numbers of people, the kitchens are well scaled for preparing light snacks, and the tiny bedrooms would make great offices for staff members.

If the Usonian type can work as a medical clinic, it certainly would make an even better visitor center. Think of it as another Usonian Exhibition House...

DavidC
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Post by DavidC »

$1,333/sq. ft. does seem way out of control - even when factoring in the public usage requirements. I'd love to see the cost proposal breakdown on this one - to find out where they are 'splurging'.

And count me in the camp w/ DRN, peterm and others - this usage seems like a fine way to adapt the existing design for a current need on campus.


David

dkottum
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Post by dkottum »

Of Wright's unbuilt houses, this type offers a great opportunity for success. But they could really mess it up if the scale is altered in any way. Typical Usonian headroom is very low for public use, and doorways are narrow. Losing its original dimensions would reduce it to a display of materials, and the visitors would have been given the wrong experience in a Wrightian space.

Original plan at original location (notice the little fresh air perforations at the first masonry course) would be wonderful. Here's hoping for the best.

Wrighter
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Post by Wrighter »

Count me in the cautiously optimistic category. But that pricetag? Is that really what it costs to build a relatively faithful Usonian? I find that more upsetting. I know that modernism's dream of affordable architecture and design for folks up and down the socio-economic scale was always something of a dream, but was it ever this far away from reality?

KevinW
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Construction costs

Post by KevinW »

and....considering this economy has drastic reduced all of my firms recent bids by 25 to 30%, I think that is very steep.
What a hideous rendering.....
KevinW

Randolph C. Henning
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Post by Randolph C. Henning »

I'm kind of confused I guess. Typically most here on this site are very vocal when it comes to criticizing the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and their abandoned Legacy plan. Just the idea of adapting plans by Wright to be used elsewhere and in other ways seem to have been met with a great deal of ridicule by the majority of this group. Here is an example of just that being done by FSC and, all of a sudden, everyone seems to be " . . guardedly optimistic"?

Be that as it may, rest assured that the building (like the recently constructed Waterdome) will not be built in strict accordance with the original plans. Most likely FSC will impact the design with additional functional requirements (due to the change in use) and the current building codes will require significant modifications in plan (accessibility, rest rooms, etc.) as well as most likely in the third dimension (ceiling heights, etc.). So, in reality, they will not be constructing a Wright designed building after all.

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