Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Today's Historical Building

The Cornell Store and Flats, Walter Burley Griffin architect

Few architects have a Landmark District named after them, as does Walter Burley Griffin (1876-1937). A native of Oak Park, Griffin studied architecture at the University of Illinois. After working on his own for a few years, in 1901 Griffin joined the studio of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, where he was the office manager and construction supervisor for many of Wright's early designs. Another of Wright's employees at the time was Marion Mahoney, whom Griffin married in 1911.

In 1906, Griffin opened his own architectural office. Most of his commissions were for private residences, which permitted him to develop his own unique approach to the Prairie School style.

Among his notable local designs are three sets of twin houses (1400-block of Church Street in Evanston, and the 5900-block of North Magnolia and 2300-block of West Montana in Chicago), the Cornell Store and Flats at 1220 E. 75th St., the Tolles House in the Longwood Drive District, , and the seven houses in the Walter Burley Griffin Place District, which comprises the city's greatest concentration of Prairie-style architecture.

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