Walter Burley Griffin was born on 24 November 1876 in Maywood, a place near Chicago in the United States of America. He was his father’s, George Walter Griffin and his wife, Estelle Melvina’s fourth eldest children. His father was an insurance agent.
Walter was an American born designer, landscape architect and an architect of Canberra. Walter was known for designing Australia’s capital city Canberra. His architecture involves of designing L-Shaped planned floor, the carport and using of concrete.
Walter Burley Griffin was in a suburb of Chicago, at Maywood in Illinois. From childhood, Walter was interested in landscape designing, so his parents gave him permission for landscape designing of their new home’s yard in Elmhurst. He completed his education at the Oak Park High School. Sir O.C. Simonds advised him to complete his later studies in landscape designer but as a profitable profession. In 1899, Griffin completed his graduation from the University of Illinois in architecture.
Griffin married with Marion Lucy Mahony, a 40-year- old lady, on 29 June 1911. In 1894, Marion was a second lady who graduated in architecture from Massachusetts Technical Institute. Until 1909, Marion worked with Wright. After this, she began to start work with Hermann von Holst. There she met Griffin and decided to marry him. Maria and Griffin had no children.
Walter Griffin moved to Chicago and started working with Dwight H. Perkins, H. Webster Tomlinson, Jr., and Robert C., all were the ongoing architects, he employed them as a draftsman. He worked with them for two years in Steinway Hall, after the completion of his studies. His employees worked in the different architect style of Prairie School. This style contains strict discipline in using ornament, lines should be marked horizontally, broad eaves hanging on flats roofs, craftsmanship, and solid construction.
Griffin was an admirer of Louis Sullivan work and of his philosophy of architectural style; Louis gave more emphasis on the historical pattern in design. He was dominant of Prairie School architects. George Grant Elmslie, George Washington Maher, William Drummond, William Gray Purcell and Frank Lloyd Wright were the other architects of that school. Griffin passed the architect’s licensing examination from the new Illinois Institute in July 1901.
Through this, he can start his own practice of architect without any restrictions. First, he started doing work on the famous studio at Oak Park in Illinois which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Griffin also worked on some of the projects of Lloyd like in 1902 Griffin oversaw the construction of the Willits House and in 1904 the Larkin Administration Building. Walter Griffin also provided landscape design plans for Wright’s projects from 1905. Griffin was allowed to take some small commissions of Wright. One of such commission was the William Emery House which is built in 1903 at Elmhurst, Illinois.
Griffin resigned from Wright’s Studio in 1906 and began to establish his private practice at Steinway Hall. For 5 months Wright went on trip inJapan in 1905, till then Griffin working on the practice. After Wright’s returned to Australia, he told him that he had to trespass the responsibilities, accomplish the several Wright’s projects and sometimes he gave his own designs for his projects. Wright pays him all his debts and makes him clear that they were not any more partners.
Walter Burley Griffin designed landscape at Charleston in Illinois for the State Normal School; this was his first commission for which he designed solely. Harry Peters gave him a first residential job in 1906. The design of Peter’s house was in L-shape and with open floor plan. In Chicago, he built 13 L-shaped houses Beverly- Morgan Park, from 1907. The place is now named as Walter Burley Griffin Place. As the place contains so many small Griffin’s designs, it forms the national Ridge Historic District.
In the United States and Australia Griffin undertook various site-planning commissions but he carried on few projects out of them. His most popular works are Rock Crest-Rocks Glen, Glenard estates at Eaglemont in Melbourne and town plans for Leeton and Griffith, the Summit and New South Wales.
In 1916, Griffin rebuilt the Café Australia in Melbourne, considered to as his first architectural success in Australia. His other most notable works are Newman College the University of Melbourne which he completed with the Lippincott in 1917, in 1924, he completed Leonard House, a seven-storey building which he designed for office purpose, an eleven-storey office block which he construct within a Cinema and the Capitol House, the most eminent building in his career.
Walter Griffin founded the Greater Sydney Development Association Ltd in 1920. The Association was formed to build residential property on Sydney’s Middle Harbour. In1924 Griffin moved to Castlecrag from Melbourne with Eric Milton Nicholls, his junior partner. They worked on commission which entirely designs for the municipal buildings of Reverberatory Incinerator & Engineering Co. They completed twelve buildings in four eastern States. His wife Marion encouraged him in every step of life. With this, she was also busy in producing decorative drawings.
In October 1935, Griffin was invited to India to design a library for the University of Lucknow. To complete the design he planned to stay in India. Till then he received more than 40 commissions containing a design for the museum and library for the Raja of Mahmudabad, women’s quarters for Raja of Jahangirabad, Student Union Building in the University of Lucknow, municipal offices, and several private houses, banks. For the United Provinces Exhibition of Agriculture and Industry, Griffin was honored for completing the design responsibility in 1936-37.
Indian architecture and culture inspired him, through these Griffin were able to extend his vocabulary to made an expressive architectural design reflecting the essence of both spirit of times and stamp of place.
In 1914, Griffith town plan and Leeton town plan.
In 1915, Eaglemont town plan.
During 1916-18, Newman College at the University of Melbourne.
In 1925, Castlecrag, a suburb plan.
In 1937, Thebarton Incinerator in South Australia.
During 1914-20, the Canberra plan.
In Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, he designed Library at the University of Lucknow.
Dr. Bhatia’s Residence, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Griffin died on 11 February 1937. His funeral takes place Lucknow. His wife looks after the accomplishment of the Pioneer Building on which Griffin had been working at the time of his death.