Florida Southern College
France Family Admissions Center
During the late 1930s Dr. Ludd Spivey, the president of this struggling small regional college in central Florida, hired Frank Lloyd Wright to design the entire west side of the campus. Rather than rely on the college’s long history and tradition to attract students and faculty, he was determined to make a new and bold architectural statement that would raise awareness of the campus well beyond the immediate region and create a new vernacular conceived for its time and place. College president Dr. Ann Kerr has once again determined to raise awareness of the importance of her campus to a new generation. Over the past decade she has been working to restore the Wright-designed campus and build new buildings worthy of that architectural heritage. Dr. Kerr understands that architecture can play an important role in the competition to attract new students, and she saw an opportunity when the concept of a new Admissions Building emerged.
This building is the first point of contact for visiting students and their families to the campus, and the task for the architect was to create a powerful, memorable and delightful first impression that embodied the past and simultaneously embraced the future aspirations of the college. It was made clear to MCWB that while it should reference the architectural achievements that came before it, the building must be unique in its own right. Although it is indeed unique, this design was developed using many of Wright’s foundational principles. The entire building is designed on a human scale. All of the horizontal lines within the façade represent that scale and resonate throughout the building. The lines represent floor elevations, desk heights, door heights and ceiling heights. These lines gracefully and functionally flow throughout the building, forming intimate office and counseling spaces as well as large public gathering areas. The site overlooks Lake Hollingsworth, and the sweeping roof is reminiscent of an entry portal and floods the interior with natural light. The building is surrounded by ancient Spanish moss laden oak trees, and these were the inspiration behind the metal and stucco latticework woven throughout the façade. The building is now considered to be a new landmark in a collection of landmarks within the city, and the client is delighted at its success.