The Sarah D. & L. Kirk McKay Jr.

McKay Archives Center

Florida Southern College
10,500 SF

 Project Description

The Archives Center for Florida Southern College and the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church signifies in a tangible way the bond between the two organizations and will allow the rich history of both to be preserved and shared for future generations.

This new building, the first on the historic Frank Lloyd Wright campus in 25 years, works in harmony with the Roux Library and provides state-of-the art archival space for valuable College and Conference materials expanding patrons’ and students’ opportunities to conduct historical research. First floor galleries and an open second floor plan provide exhibition space for the various materials housed in the facility.

Many sustainable features were incorporated into the design of the project, but the owner did not elect to pursue any specific certification. This project received an AIA Design Award in 2009 and a Lakeland Historic Preservation Award in 2010.



In a location originally designated by Wright as a dense grove of citrus trees, the new facility’s form takes inspiration from the natural topography and influence from the immediate architectural context, including several Frank Lloyd Wright-designed structures. The project was initially proposed as an addition or “wing” to the existing Roux Library, designed by architect Nils Schweizer in 1965. By designing the Center as a stand-alone structure, a courtyard was developed between the two buildings providing a valuable campus space. The cast-in-place concrete details that characterize the adjacent library were abstracted and integrated into the north and west elevations of the project. These details clearly portray the programmatic relationship shared by the two facilities. The building’s curved form preserves one of Wright’s trademark diagonal vistas from one of the College’s primary entrances to several Wright structures, including the recently restored Water Dome and Annie Pfeiffer Chapel. This view is also framed for occupants of the interior by the south glass façade from the first floor classroom as well as the primary reading, research and exhibit space on the second floor. The ten-foot overhangs reflect those of Wright and Schweizer, fitting appropriately into a campus covered in esplanades and shade-making architecture. Two forty-feet high, cast-in-place concrete walls delaminate the layers of the southwest façade and operate as passive cooling devices shielding the afternoon sun. The ground floor rustication for this new building was accomplished with textile block concrete panels precast by a local master mason and based on Wright’s original molds, borrowed from the College’s collections. This “textile-like” pattern on the panels connects the building’s module and material texture to the nearby Wright structures.



Regarding Selection as the 2012 AIA Tampa Bay Firm of the Year

Florida Southern's McKay Archives Center stands as a singular example of Straughn Trout's exceptional architectural design work and capacity for integrating new works into existing historic landscapes. Few firms have achieved the honor of having their design constructed adjacent to the work of an icon of American architecture, and I believe that Mr. Wright would be as pleased as we are to have your stunning design on our National Historic Landmark, Frank Lloyd Wright campus. Congratulations again on this wonderful recognition.

Anne B. Kerr, Ph.D., President
Florida Southern College

Media & Videos

“New McKay Archives Center Wins Award”
WFLA / News Channel 8; Jennifer Hill; July 22, 2009

AIA Tampa Bay, 2009 Design Awards – Jury Comments
Jurors Mauricio Mazo, AIA, Michael Le Boeuf, AIA and John Ehrig, FAIA from Orlando selected fourteen out of sixty-five total submissions to be recognized with awards of Merit and Honor for excellence in architectural design.


Time-lapse photography of Construction
Video by Straughn Trout Architects

Design Phase Conceptual Rendering & Light Study
Animation by Straughn Trout Architects