‘Against the Forces’ Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin Exhibition in Heidelberg

This year has been the centenary of the commencement of building Canberra. Part of that celebration has been the recognition of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin as the designers of a vision of a city that was only partially realized.

Most of the attention has been focussed on Canberra, but central Melbourne  and suburbs and in particular Heidelberg and Eaglemont,  have a strong Griffin connection as well.  Heidelberg Historical Society are marking this through their exhibition ‘Against the Forces: Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin’.


I’m really proud that we have been able to mount this exhibition- it really is good.  Being located in Heidelberg, it has a focus on the nearby Griffin houses  (of which I’m aware of four- two in Glenard Drive, one in Outlook Drive and another in Darebin Street) and the subdivisions in Eaglemont that he designed but it’s much broader than that.

The exhibition traces the connection of the Griffins with American architects, most particularly Frank Lloyd Wright and their designs for theatres, public buildings, commercial industrial buildings -most particularly incinerators!- and  residential building in Melbourne, Sydney and even India.  You can read more about the Griffins’ building projects here.

The display depicts buildings but it also addresses the question of the Griffins’ ideas about the relationship between design and the big questions of environment, national identity and lifestyle choice.  There’s a lot of reading and thinking involved in the exhibition- it’s not the sort of exhibition that you can dash through in 5 minutes.

Which makes the $5.00 entry fee a small price indeed for a fascinating Sunday afternoon’s viewing!  The exhibition is open between 2.00 and 5.00 each Sunday until 24th November.  And if you come on the third Sunday in the month you may even glimpse a Resident Judge!

Heidelberg Historical Society is located in the beautiful old court house in Jika Street (the extension of Burgundy Street for locals).


7 responses to “‘Against the Forces’ Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin Exhibition in Heidelberg

  1. Your exhibition sounds interesting as it is not well known that the Griffins are associated with Melbourne, although this was acknowledged in one of the Griffin exhibitions that I attended in Canberra.

    I’d love to visit this but realistically I have very limited time when in Melbourne – sigh!

  2. While I knew of his larger buildings in Melbourne, I did not know that he designed houses too. They all look great and different from each other. We will try and catch the exhibition before it closes.

  3. Thank you. I too knew nothing about their projects in Melbourne.

    But that begs an important question, doesn’t it. Why did they leave a huge, nationally important project like the City of Canberra to take on a few private residences elsewhere?

    • He was allowed to spend 50% of his time on other work and so he carried out the Canberra project and other private work concurrently. He actually lived in Eaglemont in Glenard Drive where he built Pholitia next door to the house he designed for his brother-in-law. Melbourne at the time was the capital city, but he did work in Sydney as well.

  4. Pingback: Walter and Marion Griffin in Heidelberg | The Resident Judge of Port Phillip

  5. Pingback: A little trip to the country | The Resident Judge of Port Phillip

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