The Usonian house is the 13th of 18 buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Florida Southern College. The walls were built out of around 2,000 concrete blocks and incorporate 6,000 colored glass blocks that act as stained glass windows. Around 10,000 board feet of southern cypress were used for door parts and jambs, as well as windows, lighting fixtures and shelves.
Colored glass blocks were made in color batches using a technique for pouring molten glass into blocks that has been around for over one hundred years. The custom glass blocks for the Usonian House were actually poured in an American factory that has been open since the late 1800s.
The molds for Wright’s unique concrete blocks were constructed from the original drawings, but the mixture of ingredients had to be changed to provide a higher degree of resilience and strength. The molds are filled on a vibrating table to ensure quick and complete settling and then submerged in water in order to prevent cracks and checks.
The Sharp Family Tourism and Education Center inaugurated the house on October 31st as an important part of Florida Southern’s and America’s architectural history.