Dankmar Adler (1844-1900)

Dankmar Adler was a Jewish architect and engineer. His partnership with Louis Sullivan was perhaps the most famous and influential in American architecture as they were considered the fathers of modern skyscrapers.

Dankmar Adler.jpg
Dankmar Adler, World’s Columbian Exposition, about 1891

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dankmar_Adler#/media/File:Dankmar_Adler.jpg

About his life

Dankmar Adler was born on July 3, 1844, in Germany. Adler emigrated to the United States in 1854 and settled in Detroit, where he began his architectural studies in 1857. He later moved to Chicago, where he became a draftsman in August Bauer’s office. He was a Jewish architect and civil engineer. In 1880 he hired Louis Sullivan as a draftsman and designer, and three years later made him his partner. Adler worked as a technical designer and administrator, Sullivan as a planner and artist. The association ended in July 1895. The partnership Adler and Sullivan was instrumental in rebuilding Chicago after the Great Fire and was the leader of the Chicago School of Architecture. In addition to his achievements in the construction of steel-framed buildings and skyscrapers, he was the teacher of Frank Lloyd Wright. He died on April 16, 1900, in Chicago, Illinois.

Auditorium Building
Auditorium, Adler & Sullivan, 1889, Chicago

    Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/c4c39682-7e8f-4d39-aff7-4979804ffdca by Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar

    What are his major works?

    • The Auditorium is one of Chicago’s architectural masterpieces. Adler and Sullivan received the order based on Adler’s expertise in acoustics and engineering. This project demonstrates Adler’s technical ability to create a multifunctional facility that would meet various requirements and is capable of hosting a variety of events, from political gatherings to a large opera. the interior drawings for this project were created by a young Frank Lloyd Wright. Innovative foundation technologies allowed this huge, heavy building to be erected in a notoriously swampy area.
    Auditorium Theatre interior from the balcony, Adler & Sullivan, 1889, Chicago

    Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auditorium_Building_(Chicago)#/media/File:Chicago_Auditorium_Building,_interior_from_balcony.jpg

    • Adler and Sullivan also designed the Kehilat Anshe Maariv (1891), the former synagogue where Adler’s Father was a rabbi.

    Since then, Adler and Sullivan have designed many office buildings. Some of the most famous projects of the time are:

    • The Wainwright Building in St. Louis, Missouri (1891) and the
    • Guarantee Building in Buffalo, New York (1896)
    Wainwright Building, Adler & Sullivan, 1891, New York State Building in Buffalo. Early skyscraper office

    Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/2f36dd84-e7bf-40d3-9ec4-3b21968919e0 by Michael M Stokes

    Info sources:




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