Established in 1883 as the South Florida Institute in Orlando, the college relocated to the small but booming town of Lakeland in 1922. (The 1920 census population was 7,062). In 1938, FSC lured influential architect Frank Lloyd Wright to town with the challenge of transforming a large lakefront orange grove into a 110-acre college campus.

As Lakeland has grown into a city with 106,420 residents, according to the 2016 census estimate, FCS campus has grown too. Although Wright passed at the age of 91 in 1959, FSC has continued to add buildings designed by Wright and others that compliment his work, making this campus of 2,500 students and 130 full-time faculty members an architectural masterpiece. Here’s a look at the collection of buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision for a campus that would “grow out of the ground and into the light, a child of the sun”.

Florida Southern College Architectural Tour

Dedicated in 1941, the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel was the first completed Frank Lloyd Wright building on campus.

The Thad Buckner Building (originally the E.T. Roux Library) was completed in 1946.

The E.T. Roux Library replaced the Thad Buckner Building as FCS’s library in 1968.

Originally the Industrial Arts Building, the Lucius Pond Ordway Building was completed in 1952.

Polk County Science Building was completed in 1958.

The Watson Fine Building (the administration building) was completed in 1949.

Partially completed in 1949, the Water Dome was fully completed and restored to Wright’s original plans in 2007.

The Three Seminars or The L A Raulerson Building (right) was completed in 1942.

The Esplanades

The Sharp Family Tourism and Education Center, also known as the Usonian House, is a visitor center and exhibition space that was constructed according to Wright’s 1939 designs for faculty housing

The Dr. Marcene H. and Robert E. Christoverson Humanities Building.

The Bill and Mary Ann Becker Business Center

Nicholas and Wesley Hall

The Sarah D. and L. Kirk Mckay Jr. Archives Center

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Article by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at