Observations, photographs, and video of the construction of a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian house which serves as the Sharp Family Tourism and Education Center on the campus of Florida Southern College, located in the South Lake Morton Historic District of Lakeland, Florida. Follow this link for visitor information.

The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.  |   G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

A little history lesson

Jacobs house
According to Wikipedia
 

'Usonian' is a term usually referring to a group of approximately sixty middle-income family homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright beginning in 1936 with the Jacobs House. (Seen above)

 

The "Usonian Homes" were typically small, single-story dwellings without a garage or much storage, L-shaped to fit around a garden terrace on odd (and cheap) lots, with native materials, flat roofs and large cantilevered overhangs for passive solar heating and natural cooling, natural lighting with clerestory windows, and radiant-floor heating. A strong visual connection between the interior and exterior spaces is an important characteristic of all Usonian homes. The word carport was coined by Wright to describe an overhang for a vehicle to park under.

 

Variants of the Jacobs House design are still in existence today and do not look overly dated. The Usonian design is considered among the aesthetic origins of the popular "ranch" tract home popular in the American west of the 1950s.

 

Origin of the word

 
The word Usonian appears to have been coined by James Duff Law, an American writer born in 1865. In a miscellaneous collection titled Here and There in Two Hemispheres (1903), Law quoted a letter of his own (dated 18 June 1903) that begins "We of the United States, in justice to Canadians and Mexicans, have no right to use the title 'Americans' when referring to matters pertaining exclusively to ourselves." He went on to acknowledge that some author had proposed "Usona", but that he preferred "Usonia."Perhaps the earliest published use by Wright was in 1927:

But why this term "America" has become representative as the name of these United States at home and abroad is past recall. Samuel Butler fitted us with a good name. He called us Usonians, and our Nation of combined States, Usonia.

Frank Lloyd Wright on Architecture: Selected Writings 1894–1940, p. 100.

The word is clearly cognate with the Esperanto name for the United States, Usono. The creator of Esperanto, L. L. Zamenhof, used this name in his speech at the 1910 World Congress of Esperanto in Washington, D.C., coincidentally the same year Wright was in Europe. However, the Esperanto online dictionary Reta Vortaro attributes the word to Wright.

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Wizard
in Wood
Craftsman earns national reputation 
for work on Florida Southern project
 

The whole world is watching! 

More than 50,000 people from 155 countries have visited the site nearly 68,000 times and racked up more than 153,000
page views. 
We are re-telling the story of the project on our facebook page. If you "Like" it, you'll always know what's what as soon as we do!
Traffic Operations sign technician Gary Griffith installs one of the new Frank Lloyd Wright Way street signs at Success Avenue and the former McDonald Street. The address of the house itself is now:

Our Video makeover is complete! Choose the main Video page, or any of the "year" pages to watch all of the project action in full HD. Also see The Blocks, The Glass, The Wood, The Fountain, and 3D Animation in crisp, clear high defintion.
 
With so much happening at once during the final month, we thought you might find it helpful to have these links to our most recent blog posts. Just click the headline to go directly to the post. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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The Premiere of the historic Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian House took place October 31st. Dignitaries from the city, the county, and the college joined the donors, craftsmen, and professionals who made it all possible.

Watch our interview with Ken Berman who installed the glass inserts, and see how all of the 10,000 board feet of southern cypress was turned into ceilings, walls, shelves, and doors. 
Click here for the video.

Take a look at the last frenetic month in the October Gallery.
On May 20, 2010, Dr. Anne Kerr announced Florida Southern College's plans to construct a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed "Usonian House" which will serve as a new education and tourism center.

Click here for a slideshow of the announcement posted on flickr in the  fsc.mocs photostream.
The site of Florida Southern College's latest addition to its Frank Lloyd Wright collection - the largest in the world in a single location - is on McDonald Street between Johnson and College Avenues in one of Lakeland, Florida's oldest historic neighborhoods.
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