Architect Stern Stays True to Wright's Vision
LAKELAND (August 11, 2009) — When renowned architect Robert A.M. Stern designs a new building for the Florida Southern College campus, he feels a duty to be true to the vision of its original architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.
"The campus is a unique architectural legacy," said Stern, dean of the Yale School of Architecture, at todays dedication of Nicholas Hall, the second residence hall in the Barnett Residential Life Center. "The story of Dr. Spivey enlisting the services of one of Americas greatest architects is a story of courage and imagination."
In 1938, then-FSC president Dr. Ludd Spivey asked Wright to design "a great education temple in Florida." Wright designed 18 structures for the College, but six were left on the drawing board. The 12 that were built constitute the worlds largest single-site collection of Wrights work.
"Wright is a tough act to follow," Stern said. "I hope I have done right by Mr. Wright, extending the diagonal lines of his campus, opening up dramatic views of the center of campus and the lake, and sheltering the residence halls under broad, overhanging roofs."
Stern said he was awestruck by the beauty of the Frank Lloyd Wright Water Dome, which was restored in 2007. "How incredible!" he exclaimed.
He praised FSC President Anne Kerr and the Board of Trustees for carefully restoring the Wright campus while continuing to build "new, sympathetically designed buildings," such as the Barnett Residential Life Center.
"It is an honor for me to be asked to shoulder some of that responsibility," he said. "I hope I have honored Wrights vision and yours, as well."
Stern thanked FSC alumni Carol Jenkins Barnett and Barney Barnett, and Publix Super Markets Charities, Inc., for their transformational gift that made the residence hall a reality. "Generosity of spirit is one thing," he added, "but generosity in giving money is fundamental if we are to grow."