The Life of Louis Sullivan

Topics: Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, Skyscraper Pages: 2 (662 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Louis Sullivan was without a doubt one of the most influential figures in American architecture. He can be credited with lying the foundation of today's modern skyscrapers. In addition, he has produced some of the most magnificent ornaments seen in 19th and 20th century, which adorned his buildings. On September 3, 1856, the future architect was born Louis Henri Sullivan in Boston, Massachusetts. His background was paternally Irish and maternally French. Louis led a sheltered childhood as result of the civil war, and spent a good deal of time on his grandparents' farm outside of the city. It is here that Sullivan developed an intense concept of nature, which would be apparent in his later work. By the age of twelve, Louis decided to pursue a career in architecture. Moses Wilson, one of Sullivan's high school teachers, introduced him to the disciplines of silence, attention, and alertness, which are necessary components of the abilities to observe, reflect, and discriminate. These would serve to help him in his career pursuits. Asa Gray, a botanist from Harvard who lectured at his school, caught his interest in the morphology of plants. At the age of sixteen, he was admitted two years early to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sullivan's first employment came as a draftsman for the architectural firm Furness and Hewitt in Philadelphia, which he felt was best suited to his tastes. The economic panic of 1837 forced resulted in his layoff from the firm and his relocation to Chicago. It was here that he went to work for Major William LeBaron Jenney. It was not long before Louis had aquatinted himself with numerous other architects in the city, the most important of whom would turn out to be John Edelman. The summer of 1874 showed Sullivan travelling overseas to the Ecole des Beaur Arts in Paris. After passing rigorous admission tests, he studied geometric form from Monsieur Clopet. Next, Louis toured Italy to study...
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