Creating Harmony Through Decoration
Louis Sullivan's Windows for the Auditorium Building
For his landmark Auditorium Building in Chicago, architect Louis Sullivan turned to longtime friend and associate Louis Millet of Healy & Millet to execute the stained glass windows that would adorn the vaulted ceilings of the grand theater. Adhering to his philosophy that ornamentation should be "organic, growing out of the mass rather than being applied to it," Sullivan designed the present motif, a Celtic knot in deep amber surrounding a verdant, pale green flower, to act as the central panels in the theater's skylight bays. Reflecting on this concept, Sullivan explained, "A single idea or principal is taken as a basis of the color scheme, that is to say, use is made of but one color in each instance, and that color is associated with gold...the stained glass, of which a moderate use is made, is carefully harmonized with the prevailing tone of color in the decoration".