Louis Sullivan is truly considered the first modern architect in America. Instead of imitating historical styles, he created original shapes and details. Older architectural styles were designed for buildings that were wide, but Sullivan was able to create aesthetic unity in buildings that were tall.
This Sullivanense style was imitated by other architects, and his latest work formed the foundation for the ideas of his most gifted student, Frank Lloyd Wright, who always recognized Sullivan as his true teacher. Louis Sullivan believed that the exterior of an office building should reflect its interior structure and interior functions. The ornament, where it is used, should be taken from Nature, rejecting classical references and the ubiquitous arches.
America’s First Modern Architect. Born: September 3, 1856 in Boston, American architect and theorist. Son of an Irish father and a Swiss mother, but of French origin, who emigrated to the United States, Sullivan spent his youth with his grandparents in the Boston countryside. He studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge; attended Frank Furness Hewitt’s studio in Philadelphia, and was a Chicago student of engineer William Le Baron Jenney
Between 1874 and 1876 he lived in Paris, where he attended, at the École des Beaux Arts (School of Fine Arts), the courses of Joseph-Auguste-Émile Vaudremer, a follower of Viollet-le-Duc; during his stay in Europe he also visited other countries.
In 1875 he settled permanently in Chicago, where he worked as a draftsman, the reconstruction of the city destroyed by the great fire of 1871 was being carried out, and he was employed in the study of the engineer Fredrik Baumann, dealing mainly with structural problems related to the large works, such as bridges and viaducts. In 1879 he joined Dankmar Adler’s project cabinet, of which he would become a partner in 1881.
Already at this time he is considered as an outstanding exponent of the Chicago School, that is, of what would be one of the most important proto-rationalist movements in modern architecture, along with John Root, DH Burnham, Martin Roche, in addition to the precursor Le Baron Jenney. He had as a student Frank Lloyd Wright, who at that time was nineteen years old and had entered Adler’s studio as a designer in 1887, after having dropped out of civil engineering studies begun at the University of Madison and having worked with him. architect J.