Friday, January 25, 2013

Louis Sullivan's Last Design, Krause Music Store Facade

Uploaded by ChiTownView on Jan 25, 2013

The facade of the Krause Music Store, was the last commission by architect Louis Sullivan. It is a two-story building located at 4611 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago. The entire facade is covered with his ornate gray terra cotta design. The resulting work is a fantasic array of detail work a plain and simple "cake" has been given thick sweet frosting that is a treat for the eyes.It is now the home of Studio V Design who have fully restored the facade of this landmark building. The rest of this history is from their web site.

“The Krause Music store was commissioned in 1921 by William P. Krause to serve the dual purpose of a residence and a music shop, at a total cost of $22,000. Krause chose his neighbor, architect William Presto to design the building. Years earlier, Presto had worked as a draftsman for Louis Sullivan. But by 1921, Sullivan’s success had faded as his designs were no longer in demand. So in a reversal of roles, Sullivan was asked by his former employee to design what would become the building’s beautiful green terra cotta façade. Sullivan, in ill health, living in a rented room and hopelessly insolvent, accepted the offer.

Showcasing his genius with terra cotta, Sullivan designed the entire façade with ornamentation richly detailed in geometric and curvilinear forms of nature. The material for the facade was furnished by the American Terra Cotta company for $3,770.

The building was completed in 1922. The store opened to sell pianos and sheet music, and was a pioneering retailer for the introduction of the radio. Tragically, with the onset of the Great Depression, William Krause committed suicide in the family’s apartment on the second floor. His widow rented and eventually sold the building to a funeral parlor. During the next 60 years, the building functioned as a funeral home, undergoing much neglect and alteration. The terra cotta façade was acid washed, which ultimately damaged and lightened its color. The basement was converted into a workspace for embalming the dead. “

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