This is the book we have all been waiting for on Adler & Sullivan!
Richard Nickel gave his life to creating a photographic legacy of the magnificent buildings by Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler. While shooting inside the Chicago Stock Exchange building as it was being demolished, he fell to his death. No one was as committed as Richard Nickel to the preservation of Chicago's greatest buildings, and no one captured images of such exquisite beauty and telling detail.
I just visited Adler and Sullivan's Auditorium Building, perhaps the first multi-use high-rise in America, combining hotel, offices, and a theater. So I will treasure this book and the chance to re-visit this building any time I want to open this book's pages and gaze upon this lofty granite pile.
The "Complete Architecture of Adler and Sullivan" provides a thoughtful and beautiful catalogue of the work of Adler and Sullivan. As a compilation of their complete work, it includes many small and obscure projects alongside the great works. The last 180 pages or so is a chronological list of the firms work. Many of the photographs in the book were taken by Richard Nickel, some in color. The images pop off the page and are very high quality. Many were dug out of archives and have not been seen by the general public for a long time, if ever. A must have for any collector of books on Chicago architecture, or any Louis Sullivan enthusiast.
This illuminating work written by Miller and Vinci belongs in every architectural historians library. It is the most revealing composite of photos and catalogue raisonne yet assembled to date. The powerful photos by Nickel and Siskind are worth the price of purchase, but the catalogue rasonne compiled by Miller and Vinci provide additional value to the those interested in further researching the work of Adler and Sullivan. It is here the reader finds detailed information on each of the building commisions and unbuilt projects. This is a must have for anyone interested in architecture and the built environment.
I live in Chicago and am grateful to live among treasures from a pantheon of legendary architects: Adler & Sullivan, Wright, Burnham, Root, Richardson and more. One of the tragedies of Chicago is that many of its masterpieces have been senselessly destroyed. Unscrupulous developers and politicians have done away with countless significant structures. The Complete Architecture of Adler & Sullivan provides a glimpse into long-gone buildings upon whose big shoulders modern architecture rests. Richard Nickel's poignant photos give a pre-1972 look not only at demolished buildings, but also at structures that still exist. As with Sullivan, no details escaped Nickel. The most minute components of architectural design are captured in Nickel's exquisite photography.
While the book is a gorgeous compilation of Sullivan's works, it is also a most fitting tribute to Richard Nickel. He was a preservationist when others scoffed at the value of old buildings. He risked his life on many occasions during his photographic pursuits. He was obsessed with preventing the demolition of the Chicago Stock Exchange Building. When he lost that battle, he took it upon himself to document every possible detail of the masterful structure, even as the building was gradually lost to the wrecking ball. Although he was theoretically banned from the dangerous property, he continued to take photos until the end; he was killed instantly when part of the building collapsed on him.
Nickel should have lived to an old age. There is so much that we could have learned from him before he perished in 1972.
This was really the life work of Richard Nickel, starting as a college project in 1952. Nickel was able to identify and document many previously unknown works of Adler/Sullivan. His death in 1972 made the book's completion seem unlikely. His friends and literary heirs have completed the work wonderfully. The book shows many buildings long since demolished and, without trying, gives a good look at Chicago when the photos were taken (my youth). In my opinion, the book is the best reference on perhaps Chicago's most important architects. It's also sobering in that it so well reveals how many great buildings we've lost.
The complete architecture of Adler & Sullivan is a supurb reinvention of older publications on this subject. Finally the work of 2 of America's most important architects have been worked into a majestic volume. Images are stunning and the essays are firm. All n all a great book to enjoy the mind blowing architecture of the turn of the 19th century. Get it before it is sold out.
The photography is splendid; the details of the buildings are shown to very good effect (often several different angles shown side by side). The scope of the survey is impressive, too. From what I knew of the work I'd always admired Adler (in particular), but now I am awed. Such attention to detail and such prodigious output. Of course, I'm also saddened by seeing the way we've treated much of the work so callously. Most of it will not even live to 100 years old. What does that say about us?
Very likely the definitive work documenting this remarkable American collaboration. The buildings Chicago has torn down to make way for lesser architecture make one weep. Here we are presented with the best visual record available to the public. It forces one to examine our values as a bottom line culture.
Fabulous book. I purchased before the price went crazy and boy, am I happy I did. Why is the book now $600?? Thank goodness the work Richard Nickle did on this book before he died was completed by his colleagues. I would have hated to seen these photos of Sullivan buildings go to waste, and that is what would have happened had John DaVinci not stepped in and decided to complete this project Richard started. It would have ended up being a box full of photographs and steno books full of notes about the structures. Richard poured his heart and soul into keeping Sullivan's buildings alive and well in Chicago, but urban renewal won out, sadly. So many Sullivan structures fell during that time, it was just tragic. Thank goodness cities have, hopefully smartened up and now try to save the historic buildings instead of hitting them with the demolition ball.
I applaud the whole effort of gathering the work of this seminal architectural practice together in one volume. This is a tradition of building, that's long gone from the general practice of today. It's more than a loss for all of us. It's a tragedy. Today architecture is much more rational and cold. Its vitality has been drained, and replaced with the mass production of pure technique. This work is a reminder of where we've been, and where, one day, we could be heading again.