Father of Modern Printing

3D Printed Book of Louis Sullivan’s Lost Architecture

Louis Sullivan

Creative Maker Tom Burtonwood has 3D scanned and printed the beautiful yet forgotten early works of world famous architect Louis Sullivan.

Tom Burtonwood is an accomplished creative that runs his own gallery, contributes to MAKE magazine, and has even run a 3D printing shop in the past. In fact, he has already 3D printed books of textures and reliefs from public domain architectural pieces. However these books, the Folium and Orihon, were leading up to a third book which combines the “cool” factor of 3D printed texture with the thrill of something new.

The new book Twenty Something Sullivan was compiled with the help of cultural historian Tim Samuelson, and examines Louis Sullivan, the father of modern architecture and skyscrapers, in a new way.

Louis H. Sullivan is celebrated as a father of modern american architecture. He was an influential architect and a mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright. He is often referred to as “father of skyscrapers” and “father of modernism”. While most of the buildings Sullivan created while in this twenties are lost, many salvaged pieces of the ornamentation survived.

By sharing some of his forgotten creations, the real spirit of Sullivan’s intentions and opinions becomes more apparent. As Burtonwood describes, Sullivan’s earlier works most clearly showed a desire to stir emotion and use organic elements to leave an impression.

Terra cotta panel from Rueben Rubel House (Image: Tom Burtonwood)
Terra cotta panel from Rueben Rubel House (Image: Tom Burtonwood)

It contains nine formerly “lost” architectural ornaments that have been 3D scanned and printed. Moreover, the book itself is circular in order to show the scans as Sullivan intended. Pages are connected to two bearings that rotate around the book’s spine.

These designs, created by Sullivan sometime in his twenties, are good examples of what Sullivan really aimed to create, as Burtonwood states:

advocacy was for directing the human powers of thought, reason and creativity towards bringing buildings and their component parts to vital life. As in nature, all parts would relate to the whole.

The book is available for download here, and its website here is full of information and further details. Furthermore, Twenty Something Sullivan’s first steps into the exhibition world will be from November 6th to 9th in Brooklyn, NYC at the Editions / Artists’ Books Fair. Find more Details here.