The City of Lakeland is among the most pleasant and desirable places to live in Florida, in part because of its unique place in the world of architecture. Just above the shore of attractive Lake Hollingsworth is the beautiful Child of the Sun collection of buildings at Florida Southern College, designed by the great American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
The city will soon have the opportunity to give the Child of the Sun collection even more visibility. The Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Florida) is marking its 100th anniversary with a contest, Florida Architecture: 100 Years, 100 Places, and members of the public can participate.
Florida Southern College is on the list of buildings and sites to be voted on in the state-wide public survey, which runs March 5-31, 2012. Anyone can vote via AIA Florida’s website, www.aiafla.org, for their top choices of great architecture in Florida.
When concluded, the survey will rank the public’s choices of its favorite architectural sites in Florida. The results will be announced in April, and a mobile app will be released that when downloaded will give a virtual tour of the Top 100 buildings and places. Sites in the Top 100 are assured attention, generating more public interest and more visitation.
FSC President Anne B. Kerr said the College is honored to be part of the survey.
“AIA Florida has recognized that Florida Southern is part of a rich and diverse architectural heritage in our state. We believe the survey will help make the public aware of all the beautiful buildings and sites in Florida, and we hope the College’s friends will participate to ensure that Florida Southern takes its place in the top 100 architectural sites,” she said.
Florida Southern is encouraging its friends in the City of Lakeland and beyond to help place the College at the top of the AIA Florida list. Starting March 5, visit the AIA Florida website, www.aiafla.org, and follow the link to the Florida Architecture: 100 Years, 100 Places survey page. Voting early and often is key to a successful result. Vote totals are maintained in real time so voters can see how their favorite site is faring.
Constructed between 1938 and 1959, the Child of the Sun collection at Florida Southern College is the only college campus that Wright designed. It comprises 12 buildings and other structures, with the centerpiece being the magnificent Annie Pfeiffer Chapel. It is the largest single-site collection of Wright’s designs anywhere in the world.
Thousands of tourists from around the world each year come to gaze at the striking buildings, the esplanades and the newly restored Water Dome. The college and the city are the beneficiaries of Wright’s remarkable vision.
At least two dozen architects and six architecture firms in Lakeland are members of AIA Florida, which is dedicated to building up communities through good design and sustainable practices. Mike Murphey of Wallis Murphey Boyington Architects, Inc., said Lakeland should support Florida Southern by voting in the AIA Florida survey.
“People tend to take for granted what is in their own backyards. Since Mr. Wright is generally considered to be the greatest American architect, this collection is an extremely valuable asset to the Lakeland community. Its value is reflected in our sense of pride as well as the economic impact of the 60,000 visitors who make the pilgrimage to see it each year,” he said.