Sullivanesque, or Lost on Ontario Street

A building on Ontario Street, Chicago

One evening I walked down Ontario Street in Chicago looking at the buildings around me. Some seemed to belong to an earlier generation of skyscrapers. The one in the featured photo seemed to be special. Unfortunately, I did not mark the crossing it was on, so now I find it hard to figure out its name or research its history.

There are many reasons it stands out. First, it is only fifteen stories high, a dwarf amongst today’s buildings. But more than that, it has a red-brick and plaster exterior, the kind that I associate with Louis Sullivan, the originator of modern skyscraper architecture. Is this building by Sullivan or his firm? I can’t check, since I didn’t note the address, but I guess it is not likely. But notice that the bottom two stories are plaster clad. This is certainly a deep homage to Sullivan’s style. So are the decorations around the windows on the top floor. The white vertical lines emphasizing the height of the building are also typical elements of his style.

I am a little distressed at not being able to place this building, and would appreciate hearing from you if you know more about it, or are able to identify it.

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Author: I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.

2 thoughts on “Sullivanesque, or Lost on Ontario Street”

  1. My husband came from India to the US to study architecture at Taliesen East and Taliesen West (Frank Lloyd Wright). He often spoke about Sullivan and the Wright connection. I could let you know more after speaking with him.

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