Home' Nova National : NOVA NATIONAL SEPTEMBER 12 Contents locals by setting aside wild "reserves" and
four miles of mostly open foreshore, and
maintaining their unheeded enthusiasm
for underground electric power. Marion
dipped into anthroposophy and Aboriginal
spiritual knowledge. They were passionate
about the setting. Considering a new
building, Marion would delineate, and
then together she and Walter would sit
and look, silently discerning how the
house suited the site. Castlecrag still
attracts international interest.
Australia shunned their creative talent.
The Griffins became more interested
in Rudolf Steiner 's ideas and, through
contacts in anthroposophy, Griffin gained
© NOVA SEPTEMBER 2012
'They fused community
spirit with the ruggedness of
Sydney's Middle Harbour,
creating a Castlecrag vision.'
a commission to design the library for
the University of Lucknow, India, in 1935.
He quickly attracted other commissions,
settling into life in the subcontinent. But
unexpectedly after gall bladder surgery
in 1937, Walter died of peritonitis, a few
days before Marion's 66th birthday. She
lived on, back in Chicago, until 1961.
Marion Mahony Griffin said there
were three functions for town planning.
Firstly, and remarkably for her time: "to
protect and preserve natural features,
so that the Earth may not die." She also
believed that town planning should
facilitate community. And thirdly, to bring
together humans and nature.
Together, the Griffins imagined a
different Australia to the slums of the
inner cities, and the drab perpendicular
lines of our towns and the bureaucratic
compromises and subterfuges. By the
waters of Castlecrag, on the lake at the
foot of our Parliament House, they
promised we could be a generous people,
connected to spirit, and the land we
love, and the world beyond.
Left: Canberra plan submitted to the Canberra design competition
by Walter Burley Griffin. Above: Canberra today. Right: Water Burley
Griffin & Marion Mahony Griffin.
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