Louis Henry Sullivan

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Sullivan, Louis Henry


Born Sept. 3, 1856, in Boston; died Apr. 14, 1924, in Chicago. American architect, one of the pioneers of rationalism.

Sullivan never completed his academic training for an architectural career. He worked as a draftsman in the office of architect F. Furness in Philadelphia, and in 1874 he attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Beginning in 1875, Sullivan worked in Chicago. He joined the firm of the engineer D. Adler in 1879, and two years later he and Adler formed a partnership. Their first major project was the ten-story Auditorium Building in Chicago (1886–89), which contains a theater, hotel, and offices.

Under the influence of H. H. Richardson, Sullivan gravitated toward a combination of rational logic and romantic fantasy. In developing a new type of structure—the skyscraper—Sullivan brought out the aesthetic principles of steel-frame design and made use of the new proportions and rhythms dictated by the cellular structure of the office building. The architect’s most notable designs include the Wainwright Building in St. Louis (1890–91), the Guaranty Building in Buffalo (1894–95), and the Schlesinger & Mayer Department Store in Chicago (1899–1900, later the Carson, Pirie, Scott Store).

In 1896, Sullivan published the essay “The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered,” the first exposition of his theory of rationalist architecture. In 1901–02 he wrote most of his books and articles, including Kindergarten Chats. In 1918, having failed to compete with commercial firms, Sullivan went bankrupt.

Sullivan was among the precursors of various schools and trends of 20th-century architecture. For example, his concept of organic architecture was developed by F. L. Wright. Sullivan’s work and his slogan “form follows function” greatly influenced the development of European functionalism of the 1920’s.


Excerpts from articles and books in Mastera arkhitektury ob arkhitekture, Moscow, 1972. Pages 34–61.
Kindergarten Chats and Other Writings. New York, 1947.
The Autobiography of an Idea, New York, 1956.


Bush-Brown, A. Louis Sullivan. New York, 1960.
Connely, W. Louis Sullivan as He Lived. New York, 1960.
Morrison, H. Louis Sullivan. New York [1962].


References in periodicals archive ?
Louis Sullivan had complained of the same phenomenon in tall building design in his seminal essay, "The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered." (3) Sullivan wrote of various critical and theoretical approaches to the design of a unified and expressive tall building, all of which at least agreed, as Sullivan voiced it, that "the tall office building should not, must not, be made a field for the display of architectural knowledge in the encyclopedic sense; that too much learning in this instance is fully as dangerous, as obnoxious, as too little learning; that miscellany is abhorrent to their sense; that the sixteen-story building must not consist of sixteen separate, distinct, and unrelated buildings piled one upon the other until the top of the pile is reached." (4)
Relics of Louis Sullivan's Chicago Stock Exchange, preserved beside and within the art institute, are tangible reminders of the city's modern origins.
The idea of the fairs is hugely responsible for the development of Disney's Epcot Center in Florida, experiences that are able to be encapsulated into a microcosm of the larger culture" Renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright contributed to more than one world's fair, including the design by Louis Sullivan for the Transportation Building at the World's Columbian Exposition (Chicago, 1893).
MUCH HAS BEEN WRITTEN ABOUT the illustrious and colourful career of famed American architect, Louis Sullivan, the son of an "Irish dancing master and a German-Swiss mother who was a fine musician and amateur artist." (Millett, p.
"Form," according to architect Louis Sullivan, "follows function" (he was not the first to say so).
American architect Louis Sullivan, the father of modernism, is widely credited with the key axiom of 20th century modern architecture: "Form follows function." That adage is also vital to data center design.
Frank Lloyd Wright Peter Weller Catherine Maggie Sift Helen Girvin Holley Fain William Jeremy Strong Louis Sullivan Harris Yulin Miriam Noel Mary Beth Fisher Lloyd Jay Whittaker Kenneth Chris Henry Coffey Frank Lloyd Wright, the architectural visionary who endured a roller-coaster career and an off-troubled personal life, seems a ripe subject for dramatic exploration, but you would never know it from Richard Nelson's bafflingly banal drama "Frank's Home." While it views Wright at a turning point in his life--when he faced potential failure in both personal and professional terms--Nelson's play seems stuck in the territory of family dysfunction and pettiness, which proves far too modest a framework for a subject who reconceived the spaces in which we live.
The 150th anniversary of the birth of Louis Sullivan, the "father of the skyscraper" and one of the most influential and accomplished architects in American history, will be celebrated at a symposium of historic preservation experts to be held on Friday, October 27, 2006 at the Great Hall of The Cooper Union.
The designers of this school of thought believed that the design process should utilize the technologies now available to them, co-opting American architect Louis Sullivan's slogan "form follows function." Among the techniques that Scandinavian designers experimented with was laminated bentwood, which soon became a hallmark.
Louis Sullivan, former secretary of Health and Human Services said the survey showed some "very troubling realities" especially relating to minority trust of the health care system.
Before long, Samuelson was drawn to the architecture of one of Chicago's great masters: Louis Sullivan. Sullivan's buildings were unpopular at the time; they were constantly being razed to make way for new, more up-to-date architecture.