Griffin Architectural Drawings

Walter Burley and Marion Mahony Griffin Architectural Drawings

The Block Museum is one of only three public institutions in the United States with significant collections of works by the pioneering architects Walter Burley and Marion Mahony Griffin. The Art Institute of Chicago and the Avery Library at Columbia University also have works by the pair.

The Griffins met while working in the Chicago offices of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Together they embarked on a career designing homes in the American Midwest. In 1912 their career gained international status after winning the competition to design the Australian capital of Canberra. 

Marion Mahony Griffin donated works from the couple’s collection to Northwestern University in 1950. Today, the Block’s Griffin holdings include 120 original drawings and approximately 95 photographic reproductions, ranging from elegant architectural presentation drawings, schematics, and floor plans to rich botanical studies.

The Block Museum is the only public institution in the world with Marion’s color ink drawings of Australian trees on silk from her Forest Portraits series. Marion was the second woman to graduate with a degree in architecture from MIT and the first woman licensed to practice architecture in Illinois. For 14 years, she worked alongside Wright as his chief draftsperson and designer.