And You Think Our Chairs are Uncomfortable!

Last week I was on vacation in Lakeland, Florida and on the recommendation of my colleague Steve Chapman, project manager in our digital lab, I stopped by Florida Southern College for a tour.

FSC has the distinction of being home to the largest number of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in one place. An enterprising college president in the 1930s sent Wright a telegram asking for a meeting “CONCERNING PLANS FOR GREAT EDUCATION TEMPLE IN FLORIDA.” Between 1938 and 1958, nine of eighteen buildings designed by Wright were constructed and are known as the Child of the Sun campus. Because the college was strapped for cash at the end of the Great Depression, students built the first buildings in exchange for free tuition. I suspect it’s too late for any HLS students to make a similar arrangement and join the construction crew on the WCC.

Frank Lloyd Wright library chair and table at FSC
Frank Lloyd Wright library chair and table at FSC

Now about those chairs…as usual, Wright designed some furniture to go with his buildings. And he was apparently a bit of a control freak. Wright designed the chair and table pictured for the periodicals room of the library. And because he had an opinion about ideal posture, the back of the chair is at a precise 90-degree angle to the seat. Both pieces are three-legged, so if students tried to relax and lean on either, they would tip. Fun, right?

The Child of the Sun campus is beautiful and interesting. If you find yourself in central Florida and enjoy architecture, it’s worth a visit!

1 thought on “And You Think Our Chairs are Uncomfortable!”

  1. Stephen Chapman

    In 1936, Wright himself learned the hard lesson of the fate that would befall (pun intended) the office worker at the Johnson Wax Headquarters who failed the test of perfect posture in one of his three-legged chairs. See, (He promptly switched to a four-legged design.) Happy to see that Wright stubbornly held onto his opinions through the end of his career.

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