Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens, OM, KCIE, PRA, FRIBA, LLD (29 March 1869 – 1 January 1944) was a leading 20th century British architect who is known for imaginatively adapting traditional architectural styles to the requirements of his era. He designed many English country houses.
He has been referred to as "the greatest British architect and is best known for playing an instrumental role in designing and building a section of the metropolis of Delhi, known as New Delhi, which would later on serve as the seat of the Government of India. In recognition of his contribution, New Delhi is also known as "Lutyens' Delhi". In collaboration with Herbert Baker, he was also the main architect of several monuments in New Delhi such as the India Gate and Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The "Lutyens-Jekyll" garden overflowed with hardy shrub and herbaceous planting within a firm classicising architecture of stairs and balustraded terraces. This combined style, of the formal with the informal, exemplified by brick paths, softened by billowing herbaceous borders, full of lilies, lupins, delphiniums, and lavender was in direct contrast to the very formal bedding schemes favoured by the previous generation in the Victorian era. This new "natural" style was to define the "English garden" until modern times.
Lutyens' fame grew largely through the popularity of the new lifestyle magazine Country Life created by Edward Hudson, which featured many of his house designs. Hudson was a great admirer of Lutyens' style and commissioned Lutyens for a number of projects, including Lindisfarne Castle and the Country Life headquarters building in London.
Initially, his designs all followed the Arts and Crafts style, but in the early 1900s his work became more classical in style. His commissions were of a varied nature from private houses to two churches for the new Hampstead Garden Suburb in London to Castle Drogo at Drewsteignton in Devon and on to his contributions to India's new imperial capital New Delhi (where he worked as chief architect with Herbert Baker and others). Here he added elements of local architectural styles to his classicism, and based his urbanization scheme on Mughal water gardens. He also designed the beautiful, Hyderabad House, for the Last Nizam of Hyderabad, as his Delhi palace.
He also designed a chalk building, Marsh Court, in Hampshire, England, built between 1901 and 1905, it is the last of his Tudor designs and was based on a variant of ancient rammed earth building techniques.
Before the end of World War I, he was appointed one of three principal architects for the Imperial War Graves Commission and was involved with the creation of many monuments to commemorate the fallen. The best known of these monuments are the Cenotaph, Westminster and the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, Thiepval. The Cenotaph was originally commissioned by David Lloyd George as a temporary structure to be the centrepiece of the Allied Victory Parade in 1919. Lloyd George proposed a Catafalque — a low empty platform but it was Lutyens' idea for the taller monument. The design took less than six hours to complete. Many local war memorials (such as the one at All Saints, Northampton) are Lutyens designs — based on the Cenotaph. He also designed the War Memorial Gardens in Dublin, which were restored in the 1990s. Other works include the Tower Hill memorial, and (to a similar design to his India Gate) a memorial in Victoria Park in Leicester. Lutyens also refurbished Lindisfarne Castle for its wealthy owner.
In 1924 he completed the supervision of the construction of what is perhaps his most popular design: Queen Mary's Dolls' House. This four storey Palladian villa was built in 1/12th scale and is now a permanent exhibit in the public area of Windsor Castle. It was not conceived or built as a plaything for children — its goal was to serve as an exhibit of the finest British craftsmanship of the period.
He was commissioned in 1929 to design a new Roman Catholic cathedral in Liverpool. Lutyens planned a vast building of brick and granite, topped with towers and a 510-foot dome, with commissioned sculpture work by Charles Sargeant Jagger and W C H King. Work on this magnificent building started in 1933, but was stopped during the Second World War. After the war the project ended due to a shortage of funding, with only the crypt completed. A model of Lutyens' unrealised building is displayed in the Walker Art Gallery . (The architect of the present Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, which was built over land adjacent to the crypt and consecrated in 1967, was Sir Frederick Gibberd.)
In 1945, a year after his death, A Plan for the City & County of Kingston upon Hull was published. Lutyens worked on the plan with Sir Patrick Abercrombie and both are credited as its co-authors. Abercrombie's introduction in the plan makes special reference to Lutyens' contribution. The plan was however rejected by the Councillors of Hull.
Largely designed by Lutyens over twenty or so years, New Delhi, situated within the metropolis of Delhi, was chosen to replace Calcutta as the seat of the British Indian government in 1912; the project was completed in 1929 and officially inaugurated in 1931. In undertaking this project, Lutyens invented his own new Order of classical architecture, which has become known as the "Delhi Order" and was used by him for several designs in England, such as Campion Hall, Oxford. Unlike the more traditional British architects who came before him, he was both inspired by and incorporated various features from the local and traditional Indian architecture — something most clearly seen in the great drum-mounted Buddhist dome of the Viceregal Lodge, now Rashtrapati Bhavan. This palatial building, containing 340 rooms, is built on an area of some 330 acres (1.3 km²) and incorporates a private garden also designed by Lutyens. The building was designed as the official residence of the Viceroy of India and is now the official residence of the President of India.
Lutyens was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (KCIE) on 1 January 1930.
The "Delhi Order" columns at the front entrance of the palace have bells carved into them which, it has been suggested, Lutyens had designed with the idea that as the bells were silent the British rule would never come to an end. At one time, more than 2,000 people were required to look after the building and serve the Viceroy's household.
The new city contains both the Parliament buildings and government offices (many designed by Herbert Baker) and was distinctively built of the local red sandstone using the traditional Mogul style.
When drawing up the plans for New Delhi, Lutyens planned for the new city to lie southwest of the walled city of Shahjahanbad. His plans for the city also laid out the street plan for New Delhi consisting of wide tree-lined avenues.
Built in the spirit of British colonial rule, the point where the new imperial city and the older native settlement met was intended to be a market; it was there that Lutyens imagined the Indian traders would participate in "the grand shopping centre for the residents of Shahjahanabad and New Delhi", thus giving rise to the present D-shaped market seen today.
The bust of Lutyens in the former Viceroy's House is the only statue of a Westerner left in its original position in New Delhi. Many of the garden-ringed villas in the Lutyens Bungalow Zone (LBZ) that were part of Lutyens' original scheme for New Delhi are under threat due to the constant pressure for development in Delhi. The LBZ was placed on the 2002 World Monuments Fund Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites.
The couple's daughter Elisabeth Lutyens became a well-known composer; another daughter, Mary Lutyens, became a writer known for her books about Krishnamurti. A grandson was Nicholas Ridley, cabinet minister under Margaret Thatcher.
In the later years of his life, Lutyens suffered with several bouts of pneumonia. In the early 1940s he was diagnosed with cancer. He died on 1 January 1944. His memorial, designed by his friend and fellow architect William Curtis Green, is in the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral, London.