Louis H. Sullivan

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Louis H. Sullivan

It is the prevailing law of all things organic, and inorganic, of all things human and all things superhuman (...), that the life is recognizable in its expression, that form ever follows function. That is the law.

The application of this idea to the Architectural art was manifest enough, namely, that the function of a building must predetermine and organize its form.

LOUIS H. SULLIVAN 1856 - 1924

Louis Sullivan was born in New England as the son of Irish Immigrants. As a child he had a particularly intensive, almost mystical relationship to nature. The experience of nature awakened in him questions as to the origin and richness of her forms. He discovered that in the natural world it is the function - or nature of an organism - which constitutes the actual force that creates and structures its form.

Later on this was to become the guiding principle for his architecture.
For him the concept of "function" went beyond being merely purposeful but embraced the whole character of a building. This finds its expression in the rich ornamentations which decorate his facades and interiors. These imbue his buildings with a delicate vitality and give rise to the impression that during the course of his life he re-discovered the creative force of nature within his own creativity.

The practice which he led together with Dankmar Adler from 1881 - 1889 was to become one of the most successful ones in Chicago. Together they made a significant contribution to the development of the skyscraper and department store.

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