Louis Henri Sullivan was the first modernist and pioneered the design of the modern skyscraper. His buildings were forward thinking designed which were stripped down and then gracefully detailed. He had an innate ability to devise architectural ornamentation which he believed must be derived from nature.
His Mother who was a pianist and painter came from Switzerland and his father who was a dancer and teacher of dance came from Ireland. Born in Boston he decided to be an architect at age 12 and to invent buildings. He started his architectural schooling at MIT and continued at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
He teamed up with Dankmar Adler who was did structural and engineering design.
Sullivan said “form ever follows function,” then Mies van der Rohe
said “form is function,” and then Louis Kahn
said From follows function” and Frank Lloyd Wright
said “form and function should be one.”
Louis Sullivan’s mentee was Frank Lloyd Wright
and Wright worked for Louis for in 1888 and 1893. Sullivan asked Wright
to design his own house, which is also a similar relationship between Mies van der Rohe
and Philip Johnson. Wright
was fired from the firm because he was designing homes on the side. Upon his departure he didn’t speak to Sullivan for 20 years.
April 14, 1924: Broke and living in a hotel room in Chicago he died in obscurity. His funeral was partially paid by Frank Lloyd Wright
, his friend, had actually visited Sullivan three days prior where he was given a collection of ornamentation drawings.