John Torrey Windrim inherited an illustrious name and architectural firm from his father James Hamilton Windrim
. As a businessman and architect, John T. Windrim succeeded his father in a highly lucrative architectural practice based on commercial, public and municipal buildings. Due to the visibility of his projects, Windrim became the best-known Philadelphia practitioner of the classical revival style often designated as Beaux-Arts. Born in Philadelphia the year before his father's successful entry to the important Masonic Temple competition, the younger Windrim gained his architectural training in his father's office beginning in 1882. By 1889, when his father was appointed Supervising Architect of the U. S. Treasury and consequently spent considerable time away from Philadelphia, John T. Windrim began to assume greater responsibility in the firm. When his father accepted an appointment as City Architect in 1892, young Windrim headed the operation of the firm; and from that time until the older architect's death in 1919, it is difficult to separate the fortunes or designs of the two architects. Indeed, given the size of the firm by the 1890s, it is unlikely that either of the Windrims can be credited with individual plans and designs that were issued by the office. Therefore, buildings which were designed in the Windrim firm were most assuredly the work of younger designers, such as W. R. Morton Keast
, who succeeded John T. Windrim at his death in 1934. Monumental structures such as the Franklin Institute and the Philadelphia Municipal Court reflected both in their massing and materials the importance of the client, but other buildings, such as those stations created for the Philadelphia Electric Co. or Bell Telephone were utilitarian in nature. John T. Windrim's practice continued the type of project associated with his father, and, unlike many contemporary Philadelphia firms in the twentieth century, was not based on a preponderence of residential commissions.
Like his father, Windrim maintained an active public and professional life. He was a member of the AIA, the Architectural League of New York, the Philadelphia Art Club, the American Institute of Banking, and the Union League. His business interests included serving as president of the Evening Telegraph Co. for two years and as a director of the Provident Trust Co., the Philadelphia Electric Co., and the Susquehanna Power Co.