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Louis Henry Sullivan - The Father of Skyscrapers


The American architect Louis Henry Sullivan born in the year 1856 in Boston, Massachusetts, is addressed as the father of skyscrapers and the spiritual father of modern architecture. Sullivan studied architecture at MIT School of Architecture, Massachusetts.

Louis Henry Sullivan was concerned with the aesthete of early skyscrapers and his style of design and construction was quoted as the "Sullivanesque style". The latter style mainly focuses on the geometric nature and detailed bodywork with high-rise buildings and classical overtone.

Henry Sullivan was considered as the father of modern architecture with his wide exploration in using organic ornamentation and steel frames in construction and he even became the vocal advocate for the development of exceptional American architecture.

The world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright worked under Louis Henry Sullivan initially and he was highly inspired by Sullivan's working principles and designs. Wright adopted his motto "Form follows function" from the former.

In 1896, Louis Henry Sullivan coined the phrase "form follows function" through his essay "The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered", where he intended to mean that "a skyscraper's exterior design should reflect the different interior functions".

Few of Henry Sullivan's famous works include:

- Auditorium Building, Chicago


- Carrie Eliza Getty Tomb, Graceland Cemetery, Chicago


- Wainwright Building, St. Louis

Source: Pinterest

- Krause Music Store, Chicago


- Union Trust Building, St. Louis, Missouri


- Van Allen Building, Clinton, Iowa, USA


- Garrick Theatre (Schiller theatre building), Chicago


- The farmers and merchants Union Bank, Wisconsin, USA


Apart from designing and construction, Louis Henry Sullivan has authored several books including "The Kindergarten Chats and other writings", "The autobiography of an idea" and much more.

Louis Henry Sullivan breathed his last on April 14, 1924, at Chicago.

"Once you learn to look at architecture not merely as an art more or less well or more or less badly done, but as a social manifestation, the critical eye becomes clairvoyant".

- Louis Henry Sullivan

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