Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Louis Henry (Henri) Sullivan (September 3, 1856 - April_14, 1924) was an American architect, called the "father of modernism" and is considered by many to be the creator of the Prairie School of Architecture.
Louis Sullivan was born in Boston, studied architecture briefly at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is associated with the first generation of American skyscrapers, as steel technology and the invention of the elevator allowed taller and more spacious buildings than were previously possible. He was one of the leading figures of the Chicago School of architecture, and a mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright.
Learning that he could both graduate from high school a year early and pass up the first two years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) by passing a series of examinations, Sullivan entered MIT at the age of 16. After one year of study, he moved to Philadelphia and gained employment with architect Frank Furness. The Depression of 1873 dried up much of Furness’s work and he was forced to let Sullivan go. At that point Sullivan moved to Chicago in 1873 to take part in the building boom following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. He worked for William LeBaron Jenney, the architect often credited with erecting the first steel-frame building. After less than a year with Jenney, Sullivan moved to Paris and studied at the École des Beaux-Arts for a year. He returned to Chicago, not yet out of his 18th year. His next few years passed working for various architects, but in 1879 Dankmar Adler hired Sullivan and a year later he was a partner in the firm. This marked the beginning of Sullivan’s most productive years.
In 1890 Sullivan was one of the 10 architects, five from the East and five from the West, chosen to build a major structure for the World Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago in 1893. He designed the Transportation Building and his "Golden Door" was one of the architectural standouts of the Exhibition. His was the only building to receive extensive recognition outside America, receiving three medals from the Union Centrale des Artes Decoratifs the following year.
One of the traits found in his designs that made Sullivan a revolutionary in his day was his insistence on allowing the structure of his buildings, especially the tall ones, to be seen, in fact, to be reveled in. However this practice was soon adopted by most architects. What makes Sullivan's designs unique to this day was the style of ornamentation that he devised. The combination of geometric and organic forms that he developed was what has sometimes had Sullivan regarded as an Art Nouveau artist. Except for some designs by his long time draftsman George Elmslie and the occasional tribute to Sullivan such as Schmit, Garden and Martin's First National Bank in Pueblo, built across the street from Adler and Sullivan's Pueblo Opera House, one does not find this style of ornamentation.
Buildings through 1895 are by Adler & Sullivan.
- Martin Ryerson Tomb, Graceland Cemetery, Chicago (1887)
- Auditorium Building, Chicago (1889)
- Carrie Eliza Getty Tomb, Graceland Cemetery, Chicago (1890)
- Wainwright Building, St. Louis (1890)
- Charlotte Dickson Wainwright Tomb, Bellfontaine Cemetery, St. Louis (1892)
- Union Trust Building (now 705 Olive), St. Louis (1893; street-level facade heavily altered 1924)
- Guaranty Building (formerly Prudential Building), Buffalo (1894)
- Bayard Building, (now Bayard-Condict Building ), 65-69 Bleecker Street, New York City (1898). Sullivan's only building in New York, with a terra cotta curtain wall expressing the steel structure behind it.
- Carson, Pirie, Scott store, Chicago (1899)
By the end of the first decade of the 20th century, Sullivan's star was well on the descent and for the remainer of his life his output consisted primarily of a series of small bank and commercial buildings in the Midwest. Yet a look at these buildings clearly reveals that Sullivan's muse had not abandoned him. When the director of a bank that was considering hiring him asked Sullivan why they should engage him at a cost higher than the bids received for a conventional Neo-Classic styled building from other architects, Sullivan is reported to have replied, "A Thousand architects could design those buildings. Only I can design this one." He got the job. Today these commisions are collectively referred to as Sullivan's "Jewel Boxes." All are still standing.
- National Farmer's Bank, Owatonna, Minnesota (1908)
- Peoples Savings Bank, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (1911)
- Henry Adams Building, Algona, Iowa (1913)
- Merchants' National Bank, Grinnell, Iowa (1914)
- Home Building Association Bank, Newark, Ohio (1914)
- Purdue State Bank, West Lafayette, Indiana (1914)
- Peoples Saving and Loan Association Bank, Sidney, Ohio (1918)
- Farmers and Merchants Bank, Columbus, Wisconsin (1919)
- Grand Opera House, Chicago. 1880–1927.
- Pueblo Opera House, Pueblo, Colorado. 1890–1922. Destroyed by fire.
- Chicago Stock Exchange Building. Adler & Sullivan. 1893–1972
The Trading Room from the Stock Exchange was removed intact prior to the building's demolition and was subsequently restored in the Art Institute of Chicago in 1977.
- Zion Temple, Chicago. 1884—.
- Transportation Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago. Adler & Sullivan. 1893–94. An exposition building, it was only built to last a year.
- Schiller Building (later Garrick Theater), Chicago. Adler & Sullivan. 1891–1961.
- Third McVickers Theater, Chicago. Adler & Sullivan. 1883?–1922.
- Thirty-Ninth Street Passenger Station, Chicago. Adler & Sullivan. 1886–1934.
- Standard Club, Chicago. Adler & Sullivan. 1888–1910.
- Columbian Gallery – A Portfolio of Photographs of the World’s Fair, The Werner Company, Chicago 1894
- Condit, Carl W., The Chicago School of Architecture, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL 1964
- Engelbrecht, Lloyd C., Adler and Sullivan’s Pueblo Opera House: City Status for a New Yown in the Rockies, The Art Bulletin, Published by the College Art Association of America June 1985
- Gebhard, David, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, May 1960
- Morrison, Hugh, Louis Sullivan – Prophet of Modern Architecture, W.W. Norton & Co., Inc. NY,NY 1963
- Sullivan, Louis, The Autobiography of an Idea, Press of the American institute of Architects, Inc., NY, NY 1924
- Sullivan, Louis, Kindergarten Chats and Other Writings, Dover Publications, Inc., NY 1979
- Thomas, Cohen and Lewis, Frank Furnss – The Complete Works, Princeton Architectural Press, NY, NY 1991
- Twombly, Robert, Louis Sullivan – His Life and Work, Elizabeth Sifton Books, NY, NY 1986
- Vinci, John, The Art Institute of Chicago: The Stock Exchange Trading Room, The Art Institute of Chicago 1977
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