Guaranty/Prudential Building--page 2 (of four pages)

Louis Sullivan

Terra cotta ornament on the shaft and base

This kind of ornament is one of Sullivan's trademarks. The ornamentation is comprised of geometric motifs as well as naturalistic organic designs of flowers, tendrils, tree branches, and seed pods. (See Sullivan in the Index for more examples of his architectural ornamentation.) Scholars note that Sullivan's use of terra cotta ornament is not entirely original, however, since artists in the English Art and Crafts movement used ornament and the Philadelphia architect Frank Furness (who embellished his revival buildings with ornament) was a direct influence.


Views of the two-story base and lower shaft

The north side has 7 bays across the front while the east side has five. The lower story of the base has a colonnade, now partially enclosed, with sturdy columns with beautifully detailed foliate capitals. Scholars note that while the facade is an honest expression of the structure, still only every other pier is structural. Additional piers, of course, give the facade an increased sense of verticality.

Continue to page 3.

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© 2009 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.