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American Architecture - Essay Example

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American Architecture

In 1879, after four years of studies spent under the tutelage of another famous architect of that time John Edelmann, Sullivan was hired as a junior partner by the famous structural engineer Dankmar Adler. Their partnership lasted until the year of 1896 when Sullivan started to experiment with new materials such as steel girders that made possible construction of much taller buildings than before. Sullivan had certain creative differences and disputed intensively about style issues with Daniel Burnham, the author of the Columbian Exposition in Jackson Park in 1893 and with one of his students, Frank Lloyd Wright. Sullivan insisted that 'form should follow function' thus proclaiming the primary importance of the purpose of a building as compared to the design1.
Sullivan's legacy is an important element of modern Chicago. The Jewler's Building at 17 S. Ashland Avenue designed and built by Adler and Sullivan in 1882 was designated as one of Chicago landmarks a century later. Together with Adler he also built the Kaufman Store and Flats at 2312-2314 N. Lincoln Avenue designated a city's landmark in 1996. Another famous masterpieces of Sullivan which became Chicago landmarks are the Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathedral and Rectory located at 1121 N. Leavitt Street build by Sullivan alone in 1903, the Auditorium Theater at Roosevelt University, and the Carson, Pirie, Scott Store at the corner of State and Madison.
Integrity of structure and ornament, emotional tension of the form, and outstanding individuality of the building are the most noticeable features of Sullivan's style: "Nurtured by the artists sympathy with life, the ornament spoke: it was the voice of the artist and the building -- indeed they were one, the building a 'stock personality' and the architect an interpreter and prophet"2. Today Sullivan is considered perhaps the most influential architect and critic of the Chicago School, the father of the modern skyscraper, and a mentor to another outstanding American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright (June 8, 1867 - April 9, 1959), one of most innovative and prolific American architects of the last century, was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin. Wright attended but did not finish the high school in Madison, Wisconsin, and in 1885 entered the University of Wisconsin where he studied civil engineering. In 1887 Wright moved to Chicago to go apprentice to a well-known Chicago architect, Joseph Lyman Silsbee. It was during that time that Wright worked with Louis Sullivan whom he would later acknowledge as a mentor.
At the end of 1880s Wright got married and moved to Oak Park, Illinois. In 1893, he quit his partnership with Sullivan and established his own firm in Chicago. After five years Wright transferred his practice to Oak Park where he had his most productive and stable days. Sidetracked by romantic misadventures, Wright designed some buildings in Arizona and Wisconsin, but those works were not as good as the works of his Illinois period.
Frank Lloyd Wright founded the Prairie School of Architecture characterized by long and horizontal designs and organic architecture that won a wide domestic and international acclaim. Wright's rehash of the famous Sullivan's ...Show more


Louis Henry Sullivan (September 3, 1856-April 14, 1924) was one of the most famous modern American architects, the founding father of modernism in architecture. Born in Boston, in 1856 to an Irish Father and a Swiss-French mother, Sullivan spent most of his childhood and juvenility with his grandparents in South Reading, Massachusetts…
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American Architecture essay example
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