Louis Sullivan

Schlesinger & Mayer (Sullivan Center)

Schlesinger & Mayer, now the Sullivan Center

Form follows function is an architectural mantra that has been repeated so often that it’s become white noise. It’s something someone says when they’re talking about architecture, especially when they’re talking about architecture in Chicago in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. But for one architect, form ever follows function was a plea for …

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Charnley-Persky House

There’s an unusual building in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood. It’s simple compared to its historic neighbors and ornate compared to more recent construction. The building is unique, and its story involves introverts, embezzlement and suicides, towering egos, stolen (or “borrowed”) credit, and philanthropy. James Charnley was more enigmatic than most of Chicago’s historical figures. The …

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Auditorium Building

Buildings like the Auditorium don’t just spring out of nowhere, especially in a marshy place with sewage problems. Somebody thinks: “You know what we need? We need THIS!” and then figures out how to make it happen.  Ferdinand W. Peck was one of those somebodies. His name doesn’t quickly roll off the tongue of Chicago …

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