Name: Sullivan, Louis Henri
Category: Architecture, Cultural Life
Description: One of the most innovative and individual architects of the 19th century, Louis Sullivan rejected the classic ornamentation of his day with highly original, organic architectural details inspired by nature. His most notable contribution was the creation of an architectural form appropriate to the tall commercial office building.
Born in 1856 in Boston, Sullivan studied architecture for a year at MIT before leaving for the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. He went to Chicago in 1873, where he worked briefly for William Le Baron Jenney, the so-called "father of the skyscraper." After a year of study in Paris, Sullivan returned to Chicago and became a draftsman for John Edelman, whose luxuriant organic ornamental designs had a significant influence on Sullivan.
In 1879, Sullivan joined the firm of Dankmar Adler (1844 - 1900), one of Chicago´s most outstanding structural engineers. Their 15-year architectural partnership produced some of the most important—and influential—structures in the history of American architecture. Adler & Sullivan created original designs that evolved from the functional requirements of each project, as well as the materials and technologies of the time.
The Wainright Building, (1890) was the first exhibition of this new design philosophy. Although not a complete realization of Sullivan´s ideas, the building is nevertheless one of the first great expressions of the new American building type, and a masterpiece of Sullivan´s work. The Wainwright Building is a National Historic Landmark, the highest designation given by the Department of the Interior.
site was made possible by: the City of St. Louis Planning and Urban Design Agency and