Guaranty Building, Buffalo

4.8
The Guaranty Building, now called the Prudential Building, is an early skyscraper in Buffalo, New York. It was completed in 1896 and was designed by Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler.Sullivan's design for the building was based on his belief that "form follows function". He and Adler divided the building into four zones. The basement was the mechanical and utility area. Since this level was below ground, it did not show on the face of the building. The next zone was the ground-floor zone which was the public areas for street-facing shops, public entrances and lobbies. The third zone was the office floors with identical office cells clustered around the central elevator shafts. The final zone was the terminating zone, consisting of elevator equipment, utilities and a few offices.The supporting steel structure of the building was embellished with terra cotta blocks. Different styles of block delineated the three visible zones of the building. Writing in his Kindergarten Chats, Sullivan said that a tall building "must be every inch a proud and soaring thing, rising in sheer exultation that from bottom to top it is a unit without a single dissenting line."Building contextThe Guaranty was never meant to be the Guaranty Building. It was the brainchild of a Buffalonian businessman Hascal T. Taylor to construct a speculative office building in the developing downtown district called “The Taylor Building.” The untimely demise of Mr. Taylor as the project was reaching its apogee resulted in the Guaranty Construction Company, having been contracted to construct the structure, determining to take on the project alone. Although “The entrepreneur Hascal T. Taylor intended this building to be a monument to himself,” the eventual monument would symbolize Sullivan’s achievements much more than its creators. The site Taylor chose for his speculative office building was strategically located adjacent to the then County and City Municipal building as well as near a number of institutional structures. The intention was to attract high quality tenants such as lawyers through proximity, desirable amenities and the captivating design of an avant garde architect like Sullivan.
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Guaranty Building Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
68 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • I have visited this building several times as part of Explore Buffalo tour as well as the inside tour and it's so breathtaking that I want to see it again and again.  more »
  • The Guarantybuilding, designed by Louis Sullivan, is truly a gem! The exterior terra cotta ornament is gorgeous. We passed by on a Sunday when, unfortunately the building's interior was closed. Still,...  more »
Google
  • Wonderful example of the work of Louis Sullivan, the inventor of the skyscraper. Encrusted with amazing, almost psychedelic decorations in its terra cotta cladding and full of new-for-their-time architectural innovations, it's unique among buildings.
  • Tell the security guard you want to see the exhibit during business hours to learn more about this historic building
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