Marion Mahony Griffin – The Most Talented Member of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Staff

Marion Mahony Griffin – The Most Talented Member of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Staff

Marion Mahony Griffin and husband Walter Burley Griffin, in Sydney in 1930

“We know immediately that we are in the presence of a force of nature, a woman of no uncertain opinions, a person possessed of deep convictions and profound spiritual experiences.”

– Excerpt from ‘Marion Mahony Reconsidered’

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Marion Mahony graduated from MIT in 1894, and was one of the first women to receive a degree in architecture. Her work in architecture began with the encouragement of her first cousin, Dwight Perkins, who had completed a program in MIT’s Department of Architecture three years earlier.

Though Marion was extremely talented, she struggled at times with her place in both society and the field of architecture. At MIT, she was unsure of her ability to complete the thesis required for her bachelors degree. However, her professor, Constant-Désiré Despradelle, pushed her forward.

After graduating from MIT, Mahony worked in her cousin’s architecture firm, which shared space with many architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1895 Mahony was the first employee hired by Frank Lloyd Wright. During her time working with Wright, Marion designed a variety of works, including:

(more…)

Do NOT Call Chloethiel Woodard Smith a “Woman Architect!”

Do NOT Call Chloethiel Woodard Smith a “Woman Architect!”

Washington Square (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user AgnosticPreachersKid)

“Smith was offended all of her life by the term “woman architect.” She felt it demeaned her work and ability as an architect.”

Chloethiel Woodard Smith was one of the leading mid-century modern architects in Washington. In fact, at the time, she was considered the most successful female architect in the country. Smith was the driving force behind many esteemed projects, including:

(more…)