At the time this project was designed, highly modelled, monumental architectural expressionism was out of favour among Canberra architects, and the bland, faceless offices for the bureaucrats were the rule, supplemented at the civic level by a neo-classical National Library built in the early 1960s.
The boldness of form results from a desire to produce an assertive cubist arrangement whose parts explore landscape and figurative metaphors to establish an architectural presence. The long horizontals are emblematic of landscape, while vertical stair towers suggest life – upright opposing figures in a sculptural theme. Externally modelled circulation routes animate the otherwise static solid walls of the 1,500-seat auditorium. Office, stairs and galleries appear as additional encrustations on the basic enclosure, and impart a plastic sense of particular function and meaning.
Canberra Medallion – RAIA (ACT Chapter)
Merit Award – RAIA (ACT Chapter) 1977