Florida Southern College (FSC), is a distinguished private college in Lakeland. Not only is it a respected college, but it is also home to the biggest collection of architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright located in one site, making it an irresistible draw for architecture enthusiasts. If you are planning on visiting Florida at some point, here is a guide to what you will find and the tours that are on offer.
The ‘Child Of The Sun’ Collection
The collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings at FSC have led to it being listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Known as the ‘Child Of The Sun’ collection, it consists of the following buildings:
– Annie Pfeiffer Chapel (the first and best example of his work here)
– Buckner Building
– Water Dome
– Watson/Fine Building
– Ordway Building
– Polk County Science Building
– The Esplanades
– Danforth Chapel
Wright was 69 and at the peak of his fame when he started work on the campus. He designed the buildings following a proposal by Ludd M. Spivey, who was the president of FSC at the time, who wanted to plan a new kind of college during The Great Depression to increase enrolment. Wright thought that many colleges could do a lot better architecturally, and so he accepted.
Arranging Tours to the College
Due to the presence of the buildings, it is no surprise that FSC’s campus was voted the most beautiful in the USA by The Princeton Review in both 2011 and 2012. You can see just how attractive it is by arranging a tour to visit the collection, and there are a number of options to choose from.
The self-guided tour is available most days and is completely free. You can visit at any time and after picking up a map in the visitor centre you can spend as much time as you want admiring the buildings’ exteriors.
There are also guided tours available, including the Basic Tour and the In-Depth Tour. The Basic Tour lasts an hour, and during the tour you will find out all about each of the structures from an expert guide, who will also take you inside Annie Pfeiffer Chapel. On the In-Depth Tour, you will also get to go inside all the buildings when possible, and it lasts an extra hour. Reservations are advisable for all guided tours, but not essential.
The college also offers group tours, private tours for up to six people, and the Behind the Scenes Tour, on which you will get to see places that are not available on the other tours. There is also an Archives Tour available, on which you can find out more about the McKay Archives, which includes designs and photographs by Wright.
Make sure you also visit the Visitor Centre during your trip. This opened in 1992 and is located in the William M. Hollis Exhibition and Seminar Room. Here you will find drawings, photographs and other artefacts, as well as exhibits designed by Wright that are on loan from other sites.
If you are not staying in Lakeland during your time in Florida, it is still easy to reach FSC. Lakeland is not far from Tampa, so you can easily arrange a day trip here. It is slightly further from Orlando, but it is still an easy drive, you can rent cars from the airport from Alamo.co.uk.
Visit FSC During Your Time in Florida
Florida Southern College is a worthwhile attraction for any architecture enthusiast, and especially for fans of Frank Lloyd Wright. It may not make it onto the main list of attractions for things to do in Florida on your holiday, but it is certainly worth taking a tour and enjoying one of the most important architectural sites in the state.