Annie Pfeiffer Chapel (1938), Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Florida
Wright conceived the master plan for a whole college in 1938 after he was approached by then college president Dr. Ludd Spivey about designing “a great education temple in Florida.” Spivey explained that there was no money, but said that if Wright could design the buildings, he (Spivey) would “work night and day to raise the means.” During World War II there were manpower and material shortages, and the first several buildings were constructed using student labor. The realization of individual projects spanned the next decade and a half, and only twelve of the eighteen designed structures were built. Florida Southern College, also known as the “Child of the Sun” collection, is the largest collection of Wright buildings on one site. It is a private college wholly supported by contributions, the United Methodist Church, and tuition fees.
Annie Pfeiffer Chapel is considered the hallmark of the Wright buildings on the Florida Southern campus and was the first building to be completed. Ground-breaking took place on May 24, 1938, and the building was completed in early 1941 at a cost of $100,000 using student labor. The chapel was designed to seat 1,000 people no more than 50 feet from the pulpit. Like the other Wright structures on campus, the chapel is constructed of textile block. Wright used colored pieces of glass to break the monotony of the blocks and allow natural light to enter the interior. The steel construction on the top of the tower serves as chime resonator.
Location: 111 Lake Hollingsworth Drive, Lakeland, FL 33801
Self guided walking tour maps can be purchased inside the Tourism & Education Center from 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM. Guided tours are available.
William Allin Storrer, The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright (1995), #251-258.
Thomas A. Heinz, Frank Lloyd Wright Field Guide (2005), p. 470-471.
Randall M. MacDonald, Nora E. Galbraith, & James G. Rogers, Jr., The Buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright at Florida Southern College, (2007), pp. 7-36.