Home > Uncategorized > A Louis Sullivan design in Algona, Iowa

A Louis Sullivan design in Algona, Iowa

Louis Sullivan building in Algona, Iowa.

The famed skyscraper architect Louis Sullivan designed this building in Algona, Iowa. It is known as the Henry Adams Building, or the Land and Loan Office Building. It was designed in 1912 and opened in 1913.

Although it was never a bank, this building is considered to be one of Sullivan’s “Jewel Boxes,” a series of banks built in the Midwest between 1909 and 1919. There are at least two others in Iowa. This building has many windows, drawing natural light into the workplace.

The Algona Chamber of Commerce occupies the building today. When I visited Algona last week, I didn’t get a chance to go inside, but I’ve been promised such a visit in the future. I’m told the interior is very cool.

Sullivan, a mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright, is the guy who coined the phrase “form follows function.”

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Desert Smurff
    April 27, 2011 at 9:41 AM

    Pretty dull when you compare it to the LV scene, isn’t it Geoff? I haven’t heard a peep from Paul Winn lately, Is he still alive?

  2. May 23, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    I was interested in finding out who coined the phrase, “form follows function.” As an art major in the 60s I learned that the Bauhaus (started by Walter Gropius in Weimer Germany)was “the” school of design for its time in the early 1900s. I always assumed that the phrase was created there because it was their credo. Now, I’m wondering if it was first coined in the “new” Bauhaus after the original one closed because of…was it the war? The Chicago School of Design picked up where the Bauhaus left off. Could it be that Louis Sullivan was there or was his phrase adopted by the most important school of design in the country? It’s an important statement that has stayed with me all of my life.

    One of the interesting stories about that design philosophy was when some major campus was built somewhere and the sidewalks were not built ahead of time. They waited to see where the students walked and put the sidewalks where the paths were worn. It makes wonderful sense. Thanks, Geoff, for that important tidbit. Even though the building looks so different, I like the time-honored feel of the structure…almost like Craftsman furniture and houses.

    — Betty, retired art teacher

    • Gary Miers
      April 22, 2014 at 6:07 AM

      The idea is attributed to Horatio Greenough, the phrase to Louis Sullivan.

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