Adler, Dankmar

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ADLER, DANKMAR (1844–1900), U.S. architect and engineer. Adler was born in Stadtlengsfeld, Germany, the son of Rabbi Liebmann Adler (1812–1892). He was taken to the U.S. at an early age and was trained at American universities. During the Civil War he practiced as an engineer and later built up a successful architectural practice in Chicago. In 1879 Louis Sullivan (1856–1924) joined the firm and in 1881 became a partner. Adler and Sullivan are credited with introducing a completely new concept of office architecture and this found its expression in the steel-framed skyscraper. Their first framed building (Chicago, 1887) was a commercial building called the Auditorium and was later acquired by Roosevelt University. Together they designed more than a hundred structures, including the transportation building at the Chicago Columbian Exposition in 1893, and two impressive skyscrapers: the Wainwright Building in St. Louis, Missouri, and the Prudential Building in Buffalo, New York. They were responsible for the Kehillath Anshe Maariv in Chicago, where Adler's father had become rabbi in 1861. Here, too, they broke with tradition. Believing that form follows function, they made the facade of this synagogue secondary to the tall roof that covered the main body of the hall. The Adler-Sullivan partnership was dissolved in 1895 and neither architect did any distinguished work after that. It was in their office that Frank Lloyd Wright (1869–1959), one of America's greatest architects, was trained.


H. Morrison, Louis Sullivan (19622), 283–93; Roth, Art, 749–50.

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