14. Louis Sullivan
Born in 1856, Louis Sullivan influenced the modern architecture in more ways than one. Many people consider him one of the first creators of modern skyscrapers and one of the founding fathers of modernism. A critic of some of his contemporaries in the Chicago School, Sullivan was famous for the practicing the idea that “form follows function” and often used spare structures with tasteful decoration. Sullivan was very anxious to divert from traditional buildings, which led him to become very influential in forging a uniquely American architecture. Like Sir Christopher Wren, Sullivan was also a beneficiary of the 1871 Great Fire in Chicago that led to a construction boom and allowed Sullivan to build new skyscrapers. Sullivan received an AIA Gold Medal posthumously in 1944, and in so doing, he became only the second person ever to reach this feat. His most famous works include the Merchants National Bank in Grinnell, Iowa, Chicago Stock Exchange Building, and the National Farmers Bank of Owatonna, Minnesota.