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Design 29: creating a capital

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Friday Mar 01, 2013 at 10:00am  to Sunday Sep 08 at 5:00pm

National Archives of Australia
Queen Victoria Terrace
Parkes,   Canberra
Australian Capital Territory,   Australia 2600   jump to map


Design 29: creating a capital offers a once in a century opportunity to view up close the original designs of the 1911 Federal Capital City Design Competition finalists. On display are the internationally acclaimed designs by Walter Burley and Marion Mahony Griffin, as well as plans by Eliel Saarinen, Donat-Alfred Agache and the Australians Griffiths, Coulter and Caswell.

Exhibition visitors can use the specially developed free iPad application to further explore the winning entries. Through augmented reality technology – involving a range of films, sound, photographs and documents – visitors can immerse themselves in the history of Canberra’s creation.
The design competition

On 12 March 1913 – 100 years ago – the laying of the foundation stone of the commencement column marked the formal beginning of Canberra as a city. Two years earlier, the federal government had announced plans to hold an international design competition for this new capital city.

In May 1912, entrant No. 29 Walter Burley Griffin won the design competition. 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.

Explore their website for a taste of the stunning designs on display and the intriguing archival documents revealing the people, politics and controversy surrounding the creation of the national capital.


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