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A never-before-built Frank Lloyd Wright house has been painstakingly constructed on its original site at Florida Southern College. The 1700-square-foot Usonian house, designed by Wright in 1939 as modest faculty housing, is the 13thÂ structure by the renowned architect to be built on Florida Southernâ€™s campus, but the first since Wrightâ€™s death in 1959.
The house, which will serve as a museum dedicated to the architect and his work on campus, is the centerpiece of the collegeâ€™s new Sharp Family Tourism and Education Center. As the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, a National Historic Landmark, and twice-ranked #1 Most Beautiful Campus in America, Florida Southernâ€™s campus draws tens of thousands of visitors each year, all of which will pass through the newly constructed house.
The two bedroom house is composed of 1,978 of Wrightâ€™s signature, interlocking ceramic textile blocks, handcrafted in 47 distinct shapes by an 81-year old artisan, as well as 6,000 colored glass blocks, each inserted by hand into the ceramic walls. The buildingâ€™s modest scale, local materials, respect for the natural landscape, and self-consciously American style were meant to embody Wrightâ€™s â€œUsonianâ€ architectural ideals.
A craftsman inserts individual glass blocks into the building’s walls (Courtesy Florida Southern / Flickr)
Along with an array of custom-made fittings and distinctly-Wright built-ins, the house contains reproductions of furniture Wright designed specifically for houses of this type, as well as a portrait of the architect by Yousuf Karsh. Nearby, a life-size bronze statue of Wright by noted artists Don Haugen and Teena Stern was also unveiled at the buildingâ€™s opening on November 1st.
â€œIt is a singular privilege to be stewards of this paramount piece of American architectural heritage,â€ said college president, Dr. Anne Kerr, in a statement. â€œFrank Lloyd Wright is not only a part of Florida Southernâ€™s history, but also a part of America’s great history, and the Sharp Family Tourism and Education Center is a wonderful tribute to his legacy on our campus and his impact around the world.” Aside from the newly constructed house, the college campus contains Wrightâ€™s only built planetarium, the only arena-style theater he ever designed, his largest built water feature, and the last specially design stained glass feature of his career.