Essay On Louis Sullivan

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Louis Henry Sullivan, born 1856 in Boston, is one of the most famous American architects and is widely regarded as “The father of the skyscraper.” Sullivan’s designs, which number more than one hundred, are prevalent throughout a number of major cities in the U.S. Throughout his life Sullivan was intrigued with architecture and saw success from an early age. In his early years Louis Sullivan attended public schools around the Boston area and spent most of his summers on his grandparent’s farm. After graduating high school, Sullivan enrolled at MIT in 1872. Though successful academically, he was impatient and decided after completing his first year to drop out and pursue an apprenticeship or go to Paris to study architecture. Richard Hunt, a prevalent architect of the time, suggested that Sullivan travel to Philadelphia to work with Furness and Hewitt. Furness and Hewitt hired on Sullivan for several months, but as luck would have it work would become scarce as the Panic of 1873 had the economy in turmoil. With the scarcity of work in Philadelphia, Sullivan went to Chicago and found employment with William Jenney’s architectural firm. Sullivan was recognized by many at the firm but his desire of studying in Paris remained, and in 1874 he made the journey to Europe. Eventually Sullivan was accepted into the Beaux-Arts, but as he did at MIT, he found himself restless and went to pursue other interests. Though he spent time in Italy briefly, Sullivan decided it best to return to Chicago and continue his work in Architecture. Once back to Chicago in 1875 Sullivan found work as a draftsman for one of his previous foremans’, John Edelmann. It was Edelmann who would introduce Sullivan to his long-term business partner, Dankmar Adler. At ... ... middle of paper ... ...ow known as the Prudential building, it features a 16 story terra-cotta exterior using the same principle as the Wainwright. Despite success in earlier work such as the Wainwright building and the Guaranty building, an economic depression in 1893 saw Adler leave the firm in 1895 for the Crane Elevator Company. With Sullivan being “abandoned” as he thought he continued to run the firm with his new hire, Grant Elmslie. Though Elmslie was loyal, he quickly realized that Sullivan could be stubborn and arrogant as he turned many jobs away. In the last thirty years of his life Sullivan received only twenty commissions, of which only a couple were noteworthy. With the long gone success Sullivan found with Adler, he grew bitter and lonely in his age. The reform Sullivan had made had changed the way architecture was thought of and had made a lasting impact upon the landscape.

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