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Eric Surber1/17/18Advanced Geometry Architecture PaperWainwright Building, St. Louis MO, 38°37?37?N 90°11?32?W The Wainwright Building is a 10-story tall (41m) red brick office building built in 1891 with 709 Chestnut Street as its address. Created with the help of architects Louis Sullivan, George Grant Elmslie, and Dankmar Adler, the Wainwright Building, which was named after Ellis Wainwright, is considered to be one of the world’s first modern skyscrapers. It is still operation today.  George Grant Elmslie was born in 1869, raised, and taught in Scotland, but worked most of his life in Midwest United States. Elmslie worked as the apprentice of William Lebaron Jenney who originated the steel frame skeletons that modern buildings use. He graduated at Cornell School of Architecture and has designed many buildings such as National Farmers Bank, Harold C. Bradley House, and Woodbury County Courthouse. The Wainwright Building was one of his first works. Dankmar Adler was born in Germany in 1844 losing his mother in the process. At age nine, he moved to Detroit with his father. Adler joined the Union during the Civil War serving in campaigns as an engineer worker. He worked as an architect in Chicago after the war and created more than 100 buildings with Edward Burling before he started his own firm. In 1880, the young “father of skyscrapers” joined Adler’s firm and became a partner in 1883. This new partner was Louis Sullivan, an American-born architect and Bostonian during his early life. He went on to revolutionize architecture and receive an AIA gold medal. All three of these men helped create the Wainwright Building before they all passed away in Chicago, IL.  The Wainwright Building was named after and built for Ellis Wainwright, an American capitalist from Illinois. He was the president of the St. Louis Brewing Company following his father’s reign. He used the his building as an office building for his business. The year after his buildings completion, a warrant for his arrest went out while he was residing in New York. The order for arrest was issued to St. Louis and Suburban Company, a company in which he was the director of, for bribery. The Wainwright Building is regarded as an influential prototype of modern office architecture. Due to its location, the Wainwright Building was used for shops on the first floor but was office space the rest of the way up. The first two floors are brown sandstone with continuous brick piers on the following seven stories. The large glazed openings sit at the bottom of the building for retail openings. Up the facades, the windows are inset slightly behind their surrounding columns to withhold Sullivan’s vertical aesthetic. Sullivan also liked organic carvings and ornamentation, which he displayed on the frieze that rests below the cornice, the surface around the door of the main entrance, and spandrels between windows. The celery-leaf foliage varies in design with each story and is embellished in terra cotta. The construction system is clad in steel frame that is clad in masonry. The Wainwright Building was one of the first successful uses of steel frame construction. In 1958, the Wainwright Building became a National Historic Landmark and a City Landmark in 1972. Today, it is owned my the state of Missouri and houses state offices. The Wainwright Building exemplifies Sullivan’s theory about tall buildings which included the base-shaft-attic composition based on the construction of the column, and emphasizing the height of the building. He wrote about the skyscraper: “must be tall, every inch of it tall. The force and power of altitude must be in it the glory and pride of exaltation must be in it. It must be every inch a proud and soaring thing, rising in sheer exaltation that from bottom to top it is a unit without a single dissenting line.”The building’s design was also quite modern, ignoring the neoclassical design that Sullivan enjoyed. A historian named Carl Condit described the Wainwright as “a building with a strong, vigorously articulated base supporting a screen that constitutes a vivid image of powerful upward movement.” Condit liked the building. Sullivan also contrasts the simple geometric structure with the organic ornamentation giving off a more intriguing feel. Adler did not see that building as excitingly as Sullivan did calling it a “plain business structure”, and he states that the only reason behind a building like that was to make investments for profit. Its building class was for buildings in which the most amount of currency could be obtained. The Wainwright Building is also said to reflect the Palazzo style which was popularized at the time by wealthy Italians in America. The style is seen through the buildings symmetry, cornice, and neat rows of windows.  The Wainwright building holds a lot of historical significance through its creators and design that has been reflected in modern buildings. It will not make St. Louis’ top ten tallest buildings list or look impressive for a skyscraper, but it came before almost all of the standing buildings in St. Louis. It is an example of success and birth into the new era of architecture.Works Cited”AD Classics: Wainwright Building / Adler & Sullivan.” ArchDaily, 12 Apr. 2011,”WARRANT FOR E. WAINWRIGHT.; Order of Arrest Issued from Court for St. Louis and Suburban Company Director.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 30 Jan. 1902, Sullivan, Louis H. The tall office building artistically considered. Lippincott’s Magazine, March 1896. 

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