Walter Burley Griffin (1876-1937), architect, landscape architect and designer of Canberra, was born on 24 November 1876 at Maywood, near Chicago, United States of America, eldest of four children of George Walter Griffin, insurance agent, and his wife Estelle Melvina, née Burley. Griffin attended high school at Oak Park, graduated B.Sc. from Nathan Ricker's renowned school of architecture at the University of Illinois in 1899 and was admitted as an associate of the American Institute of Architects.
He first worked as a casual employee of Dwight Heald Perkins and other architects in Chicago's Steinway Hall, then in 1901-06 as an associate of Frank Lloyd Wright at Oak Park. He also undertook private commissions, the most notable of which were the Emery house (1903) and the landscape designs for the grounds of the state normal schools of Eastern Illinois (1901) and Northern Illinois (1906). Griffin started his own practice in Steinway Hall in 1906 and by 1910, when his work was featured in the Architectural Record, was becoming recognized as a practitioner of what eventually became known as the Prairie School of architecture.