Client Florida Southern University Florida

The author visited Florida Southern University in 1952, shortly after the architect Frank Lloyd Wright had designed it; it had been an eye opener, for university buildings of the day, with Wright's fondness for natural light providing a user friendly campus, rich in exterior landscape. Now some 50 years later it has suffered from poor construction (Wright was not responsible for supervision of the work) and neglect and was desperately in need of rehabilitation. The work was carried out by John McAslan with Arup as engineers, Earl Walls as laboratory planners, and Lunz Prebor Fowler as executive architects.

In terms of daylighting there were three types of problem:

1. The central atrium which is naturally lit by east facing clerestorey glazing at high level

2. Laboratories which are naturally lit by east and west facing clerestory glazing at high level

3. Offices and seminar rooms naturally lit by full height glazing from a variety of orientations.

The daylighting problems were studied in model form.

Due to the orientation of the main run of buildings in a north-south direction, the early morning east sun and evening west sun entered the classrooms and laboratories directly, causing disruptive glare problems. Many of the windows had been covered with dark grey film to control the sun, and worse, were covered with forms of drape or blind cutting out the daylight.

The clerestorey glazing to the central atrium was inadequate to allow the natural light to filter down to the first level, rendering the building dim and inhospitable. In addition, the artificial lighting using tungsten sources was unable to compensate forthe low levels of natural light. The window glass was replaced with a light tinted product to minimize glare from the east and west sun, a colour balance being struck to ensure that this did not alter the exterior appearance of the building for historic purposes.

The original tungsten lighting which had been used throughout was replaced with modern energy efficient light sources, such as fluorescent. A combination of daylight, functional artificial lighting with some dramatic artificial sources was used. In this way improvements were made to the artificial lighting of the atrium, the laboratory and classroooms, together with the offices to ensure that all areas of the building were brought up to modern standards; however the needs of daylighting and its relationship with artificial sources was always a consideration, to retain as far as possible the original design intent of the world famous architect.

Ground plan

Section
Model of the section
George Cott
George Cott
Original solar shading by Frank Lloyd Wright

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