Sunday, May 12, 2013

Creating a Capital

In 1911 the federal government of Australia announced plans to hold an international design competition for a new capital city.

In May 1912 entrant No.29 Walter Burley Griffin won the competition to design Canberra and on March 12, 1913 the foundation stone of what is now the city we live in was placed.
For the record second and third place were awarded to entrants No. 18 Eliel Saarinen and No. 4 Donat-Alfred Agache. A minority vote in favour of entrant No. 10 – Walter Scott Griffiths, Robert Charles Coulter and Charles Caswell – effectively awarded them fourth place. The finalists' entries are now held by the National Archives.

As well as the national capital competition, Australia has a history for compeitions of this ilk - the national anthem was decided as a result of a vote and the flag by another competition.

I'm not sure what Walter 'won' when they decided on his design - presumably a few dozen Amazon vouchers.
Anyway, the National Archives had the original documents on display - an exhibition called Design 29: creating a capital which we visited on Saturday.

The exhibition came complete with pre-loaded ipads which added to the exhibition and allowed you to look up extra information/pictures and enhance the show. Audrey loved walking round with the (padded for drops) ipad. Here's a picture.

It's debatable how much of the plans were actually carried out. It's clear that Griffin's plan for the lake were enacted as were what is now Anzac Parade. A lot of people refer to 'Burley Griffin's vision' but I actually think a fair amount of the plan was interpreted or altered later on. Perhaps I should read more on the subject.

If you're interested in going along the show is on until end of September. Click here


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