SULLIVAN, Louis


SULLIVAN, Louis
(1856-1924)
   One of the prominent members of the Chicago School, Louis Sullivan was instrumental in establishing what is considered the most innovative building type in the United States: the skyscraper. Sullivan was born in Boston and trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which housed the first university-based architectural program; he settled in Chicago in 1875. In Chicago, he became acquainted with the technical innovations in architecture, including the use of steel. Steel constructions were first introduced in Chicago by the architect William Le Baron Jenney, and subsequent architects favored this stronger, lighter material because it allowed them to build taller structures in cities that were increasingly crowded and therefore limited in space. With this technical know-how, the first elevator was introduced in 1889, making a tall skyscraper logistically feasible.
   Sullivan's Wainwright Building, constructed in St. Louis in 1890, is one of the first buildings of this new type. This building reveals a design introduced for these increasingly vertical structures: a three-part division in emulation of the classical column with its base, shaft, and ornate capital. The base is the shops, located at street level and designed with tall windows for the display of merchandise. A mezzanine level, also with tall windows, serves as an "attic" to the store-front level. From there a thick entablature divides the building's base from its shaft, which is articulated with seven horizontal registers of windows. The building is capped with a tall frieze and wide cornice, both of which are carved out with a decorative pattern that can be easily seen from street level. This frieze also serves as an attic level to conceal the mechanics of the elevators. Thus, the original skyscrapers were made in a traditional classical proportion system. A U-shaped interior plan allowed light to the internal rooms. Sullivan went on to apply the design principles he established for the early skyscraper to his Carson Pirie Scott Department Store, built in Chicago in 1899. In keeping with his famous motto "form follows function," these buildings reveal Sullivan's careful balance between technical aspects of construction and his more subtle use of historical references.

Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts. . 2008.

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  • Sullivan, Louis H(enry) — born Sept. 3, 1856, Boston, Mass., U.S. died April 14, 1924, Chicago, Ill. U.S. architect, the father of modern U.S. architecture. Sullivan was accepted at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris but was a restless student. After working for several… …   Universalium

  • Sullivan, Louis H(enry) — (3 sep. 1856, Boston, Mass., EE.UU.–14 abr. 1924, Chicago, Ill.). Arquitecto estadounidense, padre de la arquitectura moderna de EE.UU. Fue aceptado en la École des Beaux Arts de París pero era un estudiante inquieto. Después de trabajar en… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Sullivan, Louis Henry — ► (1856 1924) Arquitecto estadounidense. Fue uno de los primeros constructores de rascacielos. Autor del Auditorium Building de Chicago …   Enciclopedia Universal

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