Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Marion Mahony Griffin

Griffin incinerators in Glebe?Last night attending a talk by Christopher Vernon, one of the authors of the new book "Marion Mahony Griffin : Drawing the Form of Nature"

Marion Mahony Griffin was the wife of Walter Burley Griffin, architect of Canberra. Marion was an architect in her own right and there is debate by historians as to how much of the work attributed to Walter (and to Frank Lloyd Wright) was actually by Marion. Christopher's thesis is that Walter and Marion's work was a genuine collaboration. They worked with, influenced and were influenced by others, so it not a simple case of: the plans were his and the drawings hers.

This may seem a long way from my usual work on IT, but issues of collaboration and intellectual property arise regularly. IT people are taking a technical legal and social approach to solving the problem, with things like the Creative Commons.

I am a bit of a Griffin fan and I gave a talk to the students of the "new Bauhaus" architecture school a few years ago linking the early plan of Canberra to telecommunicatons.

One of the sad facts is that the major buildings designed by Griffin in Australia were rubbish incinerators, mostly now demolished. Last week in Sydney I happened to pass the site of one of Griffin's incinerators in Glebe. A small building remains on the site, (see photo).

Speaking of buildings, the Canberra meeting was help from the "Shine Dome", located on one of the central parts of Griffin's Canberra plan. The building looks like something from a 1950s science fiction film. It has a domed lecture hall with seats like those of an FJ Holden, complete with a transmission hump on the floor.

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