Spotlight: Louis Sullivan

circa 1895

Louis Sullivan, Chicago‘s “Father of Skyscrapers” who foreshadowed modernism with his famous phrase “form follows function,” would have turned 158 today. Sullivan was an architectural prodigy even as a young man, graduating high school and beginning his studies at MIT when he was just 16. After just a year of study he dropped out of MIT, and by the time he was just 24 he had joined forces with Dankmar Adler as a full partner of Adler and Sullivan.

Modern Tide: Midcentury Architecture on Long Island

The relationship between social dynamics and architecture has always been intimate.  It is a constant dialogue between social norms and politics, stylistic trends and aesthetic choices, individual preferences and the collective good.  The Modernist Period was a time when architecture took on the challenge of many social problems.  In all the arts –  architecture, design, music and film – the period was highly politicized and the choices often gave way to a utilitarian ideal that was a hybrid of efficiency, simplicity and comfort.  Jake Gorst’s new film Modern Tide: Midcentury Architecture on Long Island, supported by Design Onscreen, is a message of preservation that takes us through the history of the modernist housing boom that took place on Long Island, NY in the period between the Great Depression and the 1970s.

On August 14th, Cook+Fox Architects hosted a private film screening at their office on 641 Ave of the Americas, presenting the treasures along the island’s shore that have fallen between the cracks of history.  The film looks at works from Albert Frey, Wallace Harrison, , , Philip Johnson, Charles Gwathmey, Barbara and Julian Neski and many others.

Follow us after the break to catch up on the history of the development of these houses on Long Island.

PBS lists Top Ten Buildings that Changed America

Vanna Venturi House / © Maria Buszek

PBS has released their selections of the top ten buildings that have changed the way Americans live, work and play. From Thomas Jefferson’s 224-year-0ld Virginia State Capitol to Robert Ventui’s postmodern masterpiece the Vanna Venturi House, each building on the list will be featured in a new TV and web production coming to in 2013. Continue after the break to view the top ten influential buildings and let us know your thoughts!

AD Classics: Wainwright Building / Louis Sullivan

© University of Missouri

Among the first skyscrapers built in the world, the by and partner Dankmar Adler is regarded as an influential prototype of a modern office architecture.

The building aesthetically exemplifies the theories of Sullivan’s tall building, with the tripartite composition of base, shaft and attic, which is based on the structure of the classical column.