Friday, March 26, 2010

Irish American (Architect) Month

Not sure if you saw our St. Paddy's Day homage to James Hoban, the architect of The White House, but some astute readers of that article pointed out a few other Irish American architects of note.  Let's take a quick look at one:

Louis Henry Sullivan
Sullivan truly is a big name in the architecture world, as was pointed out by an Inside the Brackets reader on the Hoban article.  I think the reason he didn't pop up in my initial research is that he was born in America (not Ireland) of an Irish-born father and Swiss-born mother.  But, hey, that still counts as Irish in our book, especially in March.

Sullivan is considered to have invented the modern skyscraper, was a member of the First Chicago School, and left a tremendous architectural impact there and across the US.  His modernist, forward-looking ideals clashed with Daniel Burnham frequently and publicly, such as at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.

Frank Lloyd Wright, arguably the most famous American (but not Irish) architect of the 20th Century, worked under Sullivan and was heavily influenced by him.  Interestingly, the end of Sullivan's career did not produce the fruits his earlier successes would imply.  Nevertheless, Louis Sullivan is a great Irish American architect.

Check out these pictures of the Carson Pirie Scott Building, a fine example of Sullivan's dazzling use of metal ornament.

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