Guaranty Building - Table of Contents ............Louis Sullivan - Table of Contents


Interior - The Guaranty Building

(formerly known as the Prudential Building)
28 Church Street, Buffalo, New York
National Historic Landmark

"The historic structure report put together by Jack Randall lists the firm of Healy and Millet as the original firm for the art glass skylights.    ...   Denise Leone, of Hamilton New York restored the glass during the original restoration in the early 1980's.    ...   The current project [2008] does not include any work on the art glass proper, but does include work on a new LED lighting system designed by Cline Betteridge and Bernstein, constructed by Nichea and installed by O'Connell Electric" -- Peter T. Flynn, AIA

Stained glass lobby ceiling by Healy/Millet of Chicago.

2002 Photos

Office/Conference room (Museum)


First floor office features terra cotta-faced columns that are partially enclosed in glass. Column is both outside (above the glass) and inside (below the glass) the office.   ...   Originally, this was retail space with large plate glass windows.






Outdoor foliated  capital is seen through glass



Terra cotta-faced corner pier and column are partially enclosed in glass. Both are outside (above the glass) and inside (below the glass) the office.




Church Street Lobby


Elevator   ...  
The original Sprague Gear Driven electric elevators were so bad that they were replaced in 1903 with water hydraulic ones.   The current elevators are of course, electrical   ...   Electroplated bronze elevator doors feature botanical imagery.   ...
The main motif is a kind of oval pod or seed shape, which Sullivan used to suggest man's potential for spiritual and creative growth. The pod is sometimes superimposed on a rectangle and connected to it with stem-like filaments. It recurs profusely in the interior of the building, in the stairway balustrades, the elevator cages, the letter drops, and the Tiffany-like art glass ceiling.



Front lobby elevator grill above doors reveals machinery.    ...   Note plant oval pod motif.   ...   The 1970 remodeling covered this perforated screen by installing a dropped ceiling at the bottom. It was uncovered in the 1982-83 restoration. 



Elevator floor indicator on grill   ...   Note the 13th floor   ...   Sullivan used 13 in all his buildings.   In this building, there are 13 balusters on the staircases



Church Street lobby sconce electric lighting was converted from gas



Staircase with 13 stairs and 13 balusters



Electroplated bronze staircase feature botanical imagery



Bronze plated cast iron   ...    Balusters from the main stairwell follow a common Sullivan theme, the emerging growth patterns from the seed outward - "nature's method of liberating energy," as Sullivan said in his book, A System of Architectural  Ornament



Church Street lobby balusters   ...   The main motif is a kind of oval pod or seed shape, which Sullivan used to suggest man's potential for spiritual and creative growth. The pod is sometimes superimposed on a rectangle and connected to it with stem-like filaments. It recurs profusely in the interior of the building, in the stairway balustrades, the elevator cages, the letter drops, and the Tiffany-like art glass ceiling.




Pearl Street Lobby


Pearl Street lobby features spectacular Art Nouveau stained glass skylight with repeating plant pods.   ...    
Stained glass lobby ceiling by Healy/Millet of Chicago.   ...
Lightwell: The Pearl Street lobby features a skylight adjacent to the elevators at the right in the photo. In the original U-shaped building design, the elevators and the skylight filled the "cutout" section of the U shape, with offices receiving light from either the outside of the building or the interior lightwell.  The lightwell is about 30' wide with a depth of about 68'. The lightwell was infilled in the 1980 restoration, adding an additional 1,400 square feet of office space. The lobby skylight is now artificially backlit (above the skylight).   ...    The historic structure report put together by Jack Randall lists the firm of Healy and Millet as the original firm for the art glass skylights.    ...   Denise Leone, of Hamilton New York restored the glass during the original restoration in the early 1980's.



Stained glass skylight and mosaic wall



Pearl Street lobby features spectacular Art Nouveau skylight with repeating plant pods.   ...   Skylight pod motif is reminiscent of a giant Tiffany lampshade



Mosaic wall



Church Street lobby mosaic ceiling and wall



Mosaic wall detail highlights the nature motif found throughout the building







Special thanks to the owners of the Guaranty Building, the Hodgson Russ law firm, and especially Harry G. Meyer, for their assistance

Photos and their arrangement 2002 Chuck LaChiusa
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