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Marion Mahony Griffin

Chicago, USA
Marion Mahony on the left, and Catherine Wright, wife of Frank, on the right, about 1907.
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Marion Mahony on the left, and Catherine Wright, wife of Frank, on the right, about 1907.
Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation/Frank Lloyd Wright Trust

Marion Mahony Griffin (February 14, 1871 – August 10, 1961) was one of the first licensed female architects in the world, but was the first employee of Frank Lloyd Wright. During her life, she produced some of the best architectural drawing in America and was instrumental in envisioning the design plans for then new capital city of Australia, Canberra

Work with Wright

Born in 1871, she studied architecture at MIT. After graduating in 1894 she began working for her cousin, who happened to share a building with several other architects, including Wright, who hired Mahoney in 1895. Being his first employee, Mahoney exerted a considerable influence on the development of the Prairie style, while her watercolor renderings soon became synonymous with Wright's work. As was typical for Wright at the time, he credited her for neither. Their collaboration ended in 1909 when Wright left for Europe, offering to leave the studio’s commissions to Mahony, who declined. However, she was subsequently hired by Wright's successor, under the condition that she was in full control of design.

Work with Griffin

In 1911 she married Walter Burley Griffin, who also worked with Wright. The two set up a practice together and before long they won the commission to design the new Australian capital Canberra. The couple moved to Australia to oversee the project, and later moved to India, where they continued to work until Griffin died in 1937. After his death, Mahoney refrained from working in architecture until her death in 1961.

Chicago, USA
Bostjan, September 21st, 2017