Elevator grille from the Chicago Stock Exchange (demolished 1972), Chicago, Illinois


Louis Sullivan ( American, 1856 - 1924 )

c. 1893–1894
more object details

General Description

The Chicago Stock Exchange was one of the last major commissions of the architectural firm of Adler & Sullivan before the partnership was dissolved in 1895. Louis Sullivan, a leading proponent of then-new skyscrapers and stylized architectural ornament based upon nature, designed these elevator grilles for use on the third to thirteenth floors of the Exchange. The oval shapes were conceived of as "seed germs," the basis of life, an idea to which he had first referred in his 1886 prose-poem "Inspiration."

Excerpt from

Kevin Tucker, Label text, July 2008.

Web Resources

  • Library of Congress
    View additional photographs of the Chicago Stock Exchange.

  • Art Institute of Chicago
    Louis Sullivan illustrated the concept of the "seed germ" in Plate 2, "Manipulation of the Organic," published in of System of Architectural Ornament in 1924. View Sullivan's original drawing of Plate 2.

  • Google books
    Read Louis Sullivan, Inspiration (Chicago: Inland Architect Press, 1886).