Louis Sullivan played a critical role in establishing Chicago as a hotbed of innovative American architecture in the late 19th century, altering the course of American architecture in the process. Over just two decades, he designed some of the city’s most recognized and influential buildings, pioneering new ways of thinking about formal relationships, aspiring to what he called “the poetry of architecture.” His innovation and leadership inspired his most famous student, Frank Lloyd Wright, to later call him the “lieber-meister” (“beloved master”).
Since his death in 1924, Sullivan has been widely recognized as a brilliant designer of architectural ornament and an influential mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright, but he often remains in the shadow of Wright and Chicago’s other giants of architecture, among them Daniel Burnham and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. On the 150th anniversary of Louis Sullivan’s birth, we will revisit the important role he played in establishing both Chicago and America as a place of innovative architecture.
The Chicago History Museum is leading a citywide celebration of Louis Sullivan, beginning on the 150th anniversary of his birth, September 3, 2006, and culminating with an international symposium at the Museum, October 13-15, 2006. A dynamic group of partners are collaborating on a comprehensive, six-week schedule of public programming consisting of nearly two dozen events, including tours, lectures, film screenings, and classes. We hope you will join us.
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Jewelers Building; Bob Thall, courtesy Commission
on Chicago Landmarks