College Vacation

Monday, March 14, 2011

Since I always have the best of intentions, while away on holidays, I planned to blog.  I visited Flagler College in St. Augustine and Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida.  No I’m not thinking about going back to college or looking for much younger men.  I went to experience the architecture and interior design of many inspiring designers from the past.


Flagler College originally opened in 1887 as an upscale hotel known as the Ponce de Leon for elite New Yorkers traveling by rail to Florida to spend their winter.  The Ponce de Leon carries with it many well known names, and not just the impressive names on the guest list either.  The hotel was dreamed up by Standard Oil co-founder Henry M. Flagler who worked with New York architects John Carrere and Thomas Hastings (the architects responsible for the New York Public Library 1897-1911).  Thomas Edison a friend of Flagler’s helped with the electrical.  Bernard Maybeck a prominent architect in the Arts and Crafts Movement of the early 20th century, and Louis C. Tiffany (the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, founder of Tiffany and Company) were also involved.  Louis Tiffany designed stained glass windows and lamps, glass mosaics, blown glass, ceramics, and metalwork.  Emmanuel Louis Masqueray (supervisor for the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis),George W. Maynard (well known artist), and Virgilio Tojetti (well known artist) were also part of the fun and fancy. 

The college tour I took of the converted campus was spectacular I can’t imagine going to class in such an inspiring environment with so many famous influences.

If an exquisite turn of the century hotel, brought to life by many masters of their time, turned college doesn’t impress you.  There is always Frank Lloyd Wright’s Child of the Sun campus, where buildings grow out from the sand and into the light.  Florida Southern College is home to the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings on one site.  There were a total of 12 structures built, between 1938 and 1958 out of an original 18 buildings planned.  Unlike the Ponce de Leon, Florida Southern College was not built by the rich.  In fact the students built a great deal of the campus in exchange for a free education at a private college.  Due to financial restraints some buildings, structure details and landscaping were never completed.


The collaboration on the Ponce de Leon’s design, construction and interiors make it difficult for any single person to solely gain recognition. 

This however cannot be said for the boundlessly unconventional Frank Lloyd Wright.  For who is more outrageous than he, designing to the last detail every aspect of a project right down to the furniture, door knobs and hand rails (or lack their of).  Both of these Colleges are spectacular in their own right, with many unique features and interesting stories to tell.

These are just a few of my college vacation pictures I hope to have more up soon.  I’m currently working on my taxes and other things that tend to fall by the wayside after a lengthy and refreshing excursion.