Louis Sullivan : Form follows function

Ornament from Louis Sullivan's Carson Pirie Scott Building.the Intertwining vines and leaves combined with crisp geometric shapes and interlaces.

Louis Sullivan is considered America’s first modern architect. Instead of following historic styles, he created original forms and details. Traditional architectural styles were designed for buildings that were wide and consumed greater horizontal spaces, but Louis Sullivan was able to create buildings that were tall. His designs often used stonework walls with terracotta designs, as you can imagine the Intertwining vines and leaves combined with crisp geometric shapes and interlace inspired by his Irish design heritage, that is his style. The work of Louis Sullivan is often associated with the Art Nouveau movement in architecture. His style inspired other architects included Frank Lloyd Wright.

Casting iron and brickwork were often seen in his buildings. He created a distinctive style of ornament that inspired by natural forms. His thought was that the ornament used in the design should derive from nature instead of from classical architecture of the past.

the entrance canopies of the Carson Pirie Scott store

“It is the pervading law of all things organic, and inorganic,
of all things physical and metaphysical,
of all things human and all things super-human,
of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of the soul, that the life is recognizable in its expression, that form ever follows function. This is the law.”

Louis Sullivan devoted his attention to both exteriors and interiors of his buildings. He strongly believed that the exterior of an office building should reflect its interior functions and its interior structure. He created original designs that evolved from the functional requirements of each project, as well as the materials and technologies of the time when the Industrial Revolution started to greatly affect the cities and architectural designs.



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