Larkin Administration Building

680 Seneca Street

alternate name: Larkin Administration Building

architect: Frank Lloyd Wright

owner: Larkin Soap Company
Western Trading Corporation

years built: 1906

demolished: 1950

More famous than the Prudential Building is this work by Sullivan’s disciple, Wright. It is one of the first examples in the field of industrial architecture of a commercial building designed as such by a great architect. Although not a skyscraper, the articulated design of the sides owes much to Sullivan’s manner. However, the strong horizontals and the powerful and varied mass compositions are as personal to Wright as are his avoidance of ornament and his complete freedom from tradition.

This building influenced industrial design strongly throughout Western Europe although it was practically Wright’s only non-domestic work of the pre-war period. For this building Wright designed the first metal office furniture.

The horizontal shapes of the window, the plain, flat surfaces, carefully proportioned and precisely bounded, and the skillful combination of a masonry shell with skeleton construction – all used to such good advantage in this building, have been accepted as the vocabulary of modern international architecture. Like all Wright’s work, the building is strongly marked with his personality. 

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