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Sullivans Banks

GER 1993-2000, 38 min

Eight buildings designed and furnished by famous architect Louis H.Sullivan at the end of his career.


At the age of 35, Sullivan was one of America’s most famous architects. The skycraper trilogy (“Wainwright Building”, St. Louis 1892, “Guaranty Building”, Buffalo 1896, “Bayard Building”, NYC 1899) that he designed together with Dankmar Adler can be found in every dictionary of architecture. The basis of his creations was the separation of construction and facade made possible by the invention of reinforced concrete. He consistently draped his buildings with facades that no longer had a load-bearing function as a form of free expression. From one building to the next, both inside and outside, he varied and perfected his modular ornamental designs in brick, steel, plaster, terracotta, glass, ceramics, mosaic, marble, light, relief, stencil designs, wood and metal.
Sullivan’s writings and constructions set out central positions of modernism, including its ambiguity. His organic ornamentation, conceived and created in conjunction with modern methods of construction, was barely noticed in Germany. Although Sullivan’s work was displayed at the centre of the “Exhibition of New American Architects” in Berlin’s Academy of the Arts in 1926, Europeans did not consider Sullivan to be of interest as a theoretician even though the famous credo „Form follows function“ was coined by him.
SULLIVAN’S BANKS shows the last eight buildings Louis H.Sullivan has designed and furnished at the end of his career.