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Sullivan's City: The Meaning of Ornament for Louis Sullivan (Norton Books for Architects & Designers) Hardcover – August 17, 2000

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About the Author

David Van Zanten lives in Evanston, Illinois.

Cervin Robinson lives in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Series: Norton Books for Architects & Designers
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st Ed. edition (August 17, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393730387
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393730388
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.9 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #838,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This book does a good job of covering Louis Sullivan's career as an ornamental architect. The photographs are very clear and detailed; many are in color. If you have studied Frank Furness, you will see his influence on Louis Sullivan's work. If you have studied Frank Lloyd Wright, you will see Louis Sullivan's influence on FLW. Contrary to the author's opinion, if you have studied classical architecture or the Beaux-Arts you will recognize the influence on Louis Sullivan in spite of his contemporary application of classical architecture principles. I must admit though I loved this book, there were several moments where I could not follow the author's theories associated with Louis Sullivan's architecture or ornamentation; it gets complicated. I have always wondered why Louis Sullivan ran out of work after building masterpiece skyscrapers. The author's explanation is that his partner Alder and FLW left the firm. That doesn't make sense to me. A more plausible explanation would be that ornamentation of a Sullivan scale on skyscrapers is simply too expensive; which is why the International style as hideous as it was and is became so successful. It was cost effective. FLW himself had to abandon the Prairie style because of this; thus Falling Water. One thing is for certain, no matter what Sullivan built, except for his houses, his works were and are stunning/enjoyable. Eleven plates of Sullivan's "A System of Architectural Ornament" are included in the last chapter. The work was the last to be completed by Sullivan. These plates show that Sullivan was not only of sound mind at the end of his life but a genius. He is the master of ornamentation.
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