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WALTER BURLEY GRIFFIN

Architect
Public Servant
Town Planner

BIODATA:
Name: Walter Burley Griffin (1876-1937)
Date of Birth: 24 November 1876
Place of Birth: Maywood (near Chicago), USA
Job Titles: American architect and landscape architect

EDUCATION:
Griffin attended high school at Oak Park, graduated from Nathan Rickers renowned
school of architecture at the University of Illinois in 1899 and was admitted as an
associate of the American Institute of Architects.

KNOWN WORKS:
o Designing Canberra capital city of Australia
o Development of the L-shaped floor plan
o The carport
o Innovative use of reinforced concrete
o In 28 years they designed over 350 buildings,
landscape and urban-design projects as well as
designing construction materials, interiors, furniture
and other household items

WORK LIFE:
o Casual Employee of Dwight Herald Perkins and
other architects in Chicagos Steinway Hall

o (1901-1906) Associate of Frank Lloyd Wright at


Oak Park
o Private Commissions
oEmery house (1903)
oLandscape designs for the grounds of the state
normal schools of Eastern Illinois (1901) and
Northern Illinois (1906)

WORK LIFE:
o He started his own practice in Steinway Hall in1906
and by 1910, was becoming recognized as a
practitioner of what eventually became known as the
Prairie School of architecture
o Early 1906- established his own practice
o Produced more than 100 projects during the next 7
years
o Ranging from suburban estates to low-cost housing
units
o Early buildings:
o His brother Ralph (Edwardsville, IL, 1909)
o Harry Peters (Chicago, 1906)
o Frederick Carter (Evanston, IL, 1910)

WORK LIFE:
o They were distinguished from the Prairie houses
of Wright by:
o Heavier massing
o Greater emphasis on symmetry and verticality
o Interlocking, multi-level interior spaces
o Termination in gabled rather than hipped roofs
o Use of diamond forms

WORK LIFE:
o Rejected an offer of becoming the head of the
Department of Architecture in the University of
Illinois so he could remain overseas
o1921- resigned as Federal Capital Director in
February
o (reasons including) closing of his Chicago
office in 1917 due to mismanagement

WORK LIFE:
o major works during years of financial hardship in
the 1930s were an extraordinary group of
garbage incinerators for local councils

Stinson Memorial Library (Anna,


IL, 1912)
One of two masterpieces

PERSONAL LIFE:
o June 21, 1911- Married 40 y/o Marion Lucy
Mahony (1871-1961)
o Mahony was the second woman to graduate in
architecture from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of
Technology) in 1894)
o Had no children

PERSONAL LIFE:
o February 1937- Griffin became ill after a banquet given by his benefactor, the
Raja of Mahudabad and died of peritonitis several days later on the 11th of
February

Griffin stands as the third great member, after Sullivan and Wright, of the Chicago
movement to create a decorated modern architecture for the twentieth century. His
buildings, landscapes and town plans record a lifetimes dedication to this goal

Walter Burley Griffin, Commonwealth of Australia Federal Capital Competition.


City and Environs

Walter Burley Griffin, Section B-A. Southerly side of Water Axis, Government
Group

The capitol dominates the city skyline in Marion Mahony Griffin's beautiful
drawing.

Walter Burley Griffin, Commonwealth of Australia Federal Capital Competition,


View from Summit of Mount Ainslie.
This perspective of the future capital from Mount Ainslie demonstrates Griffin's
land axis.

TOWN PLANNING AND LANDSCAPE


ARCHITECTURE

The suburb of Castlecrag is unique within Griffin's work as he was both developer and architect for the
project. The Griffins themselves became residents in 1925. Griffin laid out the winding roads to suit the
rocky contours of the area and created walkways and reserves between the residential allotments.
Griffin also built a substantial number of houses within the estate as demonstration homes for
shareholders or as homes for individual clients.

COMMERCIAL AND PUBLIC BUILDINGS

In 1935 Griffin designed and built the Pioneer Press Office and Printing Works in
Lucknow, India, the only major commission completed by him during his brief
residency in that country. The building has since been demolished.

William H. Emery, Jr. House, 1903

Frederick Carter House 1910

RESIDENTIAL

Blythe-Rule House, 1913

RESIDENTIAL

Page House, 1912

RESIDENTIAL

Ralph Griffin House, 1913

RESIDENTIAL

Melson House, 1914

RESIDENTIAL
Blythe House, 1914

CANBERRA
DRAWINGS
Griffin's
contour
survey for
Canberra

CANBERRA
DRAWINGS
Final
accepted
plan for
Canberra