Florida Southern College is celebrated for its buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright – “the largest collection” of FLW structures in the world.
But several notable buildings have been added to the campus in recent years, including four by internationally renowned firm Robert AM Stern Architects of New York City.
Designed by Stern (b.1939) and Alexander Lamis of his company, the Christoverson Humanities Building pays homage to Wright, with its columns of red pipes – not as dark as Wright’s favorite “Cherokee Red” – and beige masonry blocks clear in a stacked link.
The building is prominently located, overlooking Hollingsworth Lake and serving as the new gateway to the private college campus. Built in 2010, its roof rises above the entrance, much like Arquitectonica’s 2006 Herald-Tribune Building in Sarasota.
Inside, the classrooms and faculty desks are hidden behind a double-height atrium with a student lounge on the second level.
The Christoverson is a significant change from the postmodernist work for which the versatile Stern was well known earlier in his career. A Florida regular, Stern, a Vincent Scully Award winner and member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, designed the neo-traditional Yacht Club and Beach Club complexes at Disney World. A former member of the board of directors of Walt Disney Co., he was the main planner of Celebration, the neo-traditional Disney community, which was developed in the 1990s.
Stern’s recent buildings in neoclassical, modern, and neo-modern languages show his business mastery of a variety of “styles.”
The Christoverson stands on the FSC campus as a majestic addition, not a competitor, to Frank Lloyd Wright’s structures.
“Florida Buildings I Love” is Harold Bubil’s tribute to the built environment of the Sunshine State. This article was originally published on March 2, 2019.