College to Build on Frank Lloyd Wright's Legacy
Left to right: Chairman of the FSC Board of Trustees Robert L. Fryer, Jr. '70, FSC President Anne Kerr, President of FSC National Alumni Board of Directors Nancy Cattarius, Polk County Commissioner Sam Johnson, Lakeland Mayor Gow Fields, Architect Jeff Baker, FSC VP Finance and Administration Terry Dennis
Rendering of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Tourism and Education Center
See more photos from the Tourism and Education Center Celebration on Flickr.
LAKELAND (March 20, 2010) -- Building the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Tourism and Education Center is like "picking up a torch that was dropped long ago, hoping to rekindle its flame," the College's restoration architect said.
The college community joined with local dignitaries to celebrate at the site of the future home of the Tourism and Education Center, which will be built using plans for a Usonian house that Mr. Wright created as part of the campus master plan but which was never built. Mr. Wright designed 18 structures for the campus, 12 of which were built between 1939 and 1958.
"Today we begin a journey to extend Mr. Wright's legacy and complete one of his magnificent designs for our campus, the Usonian House," said Dr. Anne Kerr, president of FSC. "The Usonian House at Florida Southern College will have added international significance, as it will be the first Wright structure since 1966 constructed for the original client on the original site."
Mr. Wright's Usonian houses were intended to be distinctly American style houses that were affordable for the middle class. "Usonian" is an acronym for United States of North American.
The College welcomes more than 30,000 visitors a year to tour the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings and anticipates that number will exceed 100,000 visitors by 2014. The Tourism and Education Center will provide a dedicated space for an introductory film on the history of Mr. Wright's career and 20-year relationship with FSC; a gift shop; a tourism kiosk with information on other Polk County attractions; exhibitions and conferences; and docent-led, audio, and self-guided tours.
Restoration architect Jeff Baker of Mesick Cohen Wilson Baker Architects in Albany, N.Y., said many of Wright's ideas have persisted, and our homes and public buildings are better for it. However, much of what he taught us has now faded or has been forgotten altogether," he said. "Just as any act of building is an act of faith, Mr. Wright hoped his generation would follow his lead and create a humane architecture. By building this project, we resurrect his hope for our generation and those yet to come."
He added, "It has become increasingly clear that a mind like Wright's emerges from the sea of humanity perhaps once in 500 years, and his work, both built and un-built, still has much to teach us. Many more lessons lay slumbering deep within his archives, waiting to enlighten and inspire the living and the unborn."