Walter Burley Griffin

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Walter Burley Griffin (November 24, 1876 – February 11, 1937) was an American architect and landscape architect, who is best known for his role in designing Canberra, Australia's capital city. He has also been credited with the development of the L-shaped floor plan, the carport and the first use of reinforced concrete.

Influenced by the Chicago-based Prairie School, Griffin went on to develop a unique modern style. For much of his career Griffin worked in partnership with his wife Marion Mahony Griffin. In the 28 years of their architectural partnership, the Griffins designed over 350 buildings, landscape and urban-design projects as well as designing construction materials, interiors, furniture and other household items.

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Early life

Griffin was born in 1876 in Maywood, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. He was the eldest of the four children of George Walter Griffin, an insurance agent, and Estelle Griffin. His family moved to Oak Park and later to Elmhurst during his childhood. As a boy he had an interest in landscape design and gardening, his parents allowed him to landscape the yard at their new home in Elmhurst. Griffin completed high school at Oak Park High School. He considered studying landscape design but was advised by landscape gardener O. C. Simonds to pursue a more lucrative profession.

He chose to study architecture and in 1899 Griffin received a bachelor's degree from the architecture program at the University of Illinois. The University of Illinois program was run by Nathan Clifford Ricker, a German-educated architect, whose teaching emphasized the technical aspects of architecture. During his studies he also took courses in horticulture and forestry.

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