Topics: University Libraries, College of Architecture and Planning

April 5, 2010

Considered the father of modern architecture, Louis Sullivan's life will be examined in a new documentary premiering April 6 at Ball State University. The Indiana premiere of "Louis Sullivan: The Struggle for American Architecture" is to be hosted by the Friends of the A.M. Bracken Library, College of Architecture and Planning (CAP) and the Drawings and Documents Archive. The event is free and open to the public and will take place in the Architecture Building, Room 100, at 7:30 p.m.
Known by many as the creator of the skyscraper, Sullivan designed numerous buildings across the country. Graduating from the School of Beaux Arts in Paris in the late 1800s, he became one of the protagonists of the Chicago School with the original Chicago Stock Exchange, the Auditorium Theatre, the Carson Pirie Scott department store and the Schiller Building. Sullivan was a mentor to other architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright, and is known for coining the Modernist design mantra "form follows function."
A Ball State class has become familiar with Sullivan's legacy this semester as it works on an emerging media project involving one of his most famous projects. Michele Chiuini, professor of architecture, and John Fillwalk, director of the Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts, are leading a team of students in scanning the cornice of the Chicago Stock Exchange, digitally reconstructing it for the College of Architecture and Planning's exhibit of the building. The actual cornice will be on display at the DiCSX (Digital Chicago Stock Exchange) exhibit, which chronicles the group's digital re-creation of the building and is featured in CAP's first-floor gallery through April 6.
Attendees of the film can visit the gallery before the April 6 premiere. Following the screening of "Louis Sullivan," its filmmaker, Mark Smith, will talk about the film, which articulates the grandeur and importance of Sullivan's contributions to our architectural history. Smith spent months researching Sullivan, traveling through the Midwest and East Coast to view first-hand most of Sullivan's surviving works. The experience helped shape his commitment to creating this documentary about Sullivan's architecture. To learn more about the film, visit

By Samantha Irons