Polk Life Magazine August 2014 : Page 16

usonianhouse Florida Southern structure reflects vision of famed architect Sunlight glows through squares of glass in various colors, creating miniature torches that flash shards of turquoise, emerald, violet and amber onto the burnished cypress of the ceiling. By gary white pHOTOgRapHy By ernst peters ‘’An American Architecture’’ includes illustrations to sup-plement a study of the style and works of frank Lloyd wright. “You can stay in one spot and your world changes throughout the day,” said Mark Tlachac, director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center at Flor-ida Southern College. Tlachac sat inside the Uso-nian House, a structure that pays tribute to the idiosyncrat-ic brilliance of Wright, the cel-ebrated architect who designed 12 other structures on the Lake-land campus. The Usonian House occupies a curious realm. Designed in the 1930s as an affordable resi-dence for professors, the struc-ture existed only on paper for decades. Finally constructed in 2013, the building provides a home not for any person but for the spirit of Wright’s cre-ativity. The building at the north edge of campus is the center-piece of the Sharp Family Tour-ism and Education Center, the entry point for the thousands who visit the college annually to behold the collection of Wright’s designs. The Usonian House is a work of art designed for people to live in, Tlachac said. The building virtually swirls with pleasing contradictions: spartan yet luminous, dated yet modern. It is compact — just 1,333 square feet — yet the open in-ternal plan and lofty ceilings somehow make it feel spacious. The structure teems with ex-tended lines and geometric shapes, yet it manages to seem unconstrained. The name “Usonian,” derived from the phrase “United States of North America,” reflects Wright’s insistence that Amer-ican architecture should cast off its fealty to European mod-els and pursue an original vi-sion. Tlachac said Wright wanted the structures to be as afford-able as the bungalows that dominated American housing 16 | P O L K L I F E

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