Walter Burley Griffin (1876–1937)

Detail from Walter Burley Griffin designer of Canberra, photograph by Wallinger, 1912, National Library of Australia PIC/6215

Architect, landscape architect, planner
Born: Maywood, Illinois, USA  24 November 1876
Died:  Lucknow, India  11 February 1937  Buried at Lucknow, India

Born and raised near Chicago Walter Burley Griffin (1876–1937) was the eldest of four children. He worked as an architect, landscape architect and planner in the United States, Australia and India. His professional career spanned nearly forty years: the early years as a young architect in turn of the century Chicago (1899-1914), the following twenty years in Australia (1914-1935) and the last two years India (1935–1937) before his untimely death in India aged 59.

Walter Burley Griffin was inspired by ideals of equity and democracy and a passionate regard for nature. In 1900, as a recent architectural graduate Walter Burley Griffin, inspired by Louis Sullivan, resolved to create his own kind of modern architecture independent of past styles.  When Griffin entered the design field, nature was to be his great source of inspiration. The young architect worked for Frank Lloyd Wright, and we have a sense that his work at that time was suffused with the ‘Spirit of Nature’ in the great tradition of the American transcendentalists, Emerson and Thoreau. This was combined with a search for pure form–a geometric, abstract ideal–inspired by the patterns of nature. This love of nature was evident not only in his and Marion Mahony Griffin’s work, but also in their lives. (Weirick, in a talk to Castlecrag Conservation Society, 30 July 1997.)

More about Walter Burley Griffin at Walter Burley Griffin Society

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