Guaranty/Prudential Building--page 1 (of four pages)

Louis Sullivan(Sullivan and Adler) 1894-95

Often called the father of the modern skyscraper, Louis Sullivan is one of the most important American architects in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With the development of the steel structural frame, tall buildings, without thick supporting masonry bases, could be built. This steel-frame construction made possible the curtain-wall buildings that became the modern skyscraper. This 13-story skyscraper (152 feet) was the highest in Buffalo when it was built. Built as the Guaranty Building, it was soon renamed the Prudential Building because new financing was provided by the Prudential Company. Both names, however, are indicated at its front entrances.

The north facade

Only four sides of the building are decorated--the north and the east

Left: the two decorated facades--north and east


Traditional tripartite division: base, shaft and top and/or cornice

Although the building has a strong vertical thrust, the heavy cornice tends to restrain it.

The elaborately decorated terra cotta cornice


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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.