Journal article

Back to the future: The pragmatic classicism of Australia's Parliament House

P Tombesi

Architectural Research Quarterly | Published : 2003


Until the launch of Federation Square in Melbourne, in 1997, Australia's contribution to the history of international architectural competitions consisted essentially of two buildings: the Sydney Opera House, won by Jørn Utzon in 1957, and the Federal Parliament House in Canberra, won by Mitchell/Giurgola and Thorp (MGT) in 1980. While Utzon's building is widely acknowledged as a daring piece of innovative design and one of the architectural icons of this century, MGT's winning scheme for Parliament House drew heavy criticism from the moment the proposal was unveiled: neo-Classicist lines, a Beaux-Arts parti, and the building's occupation of Capital Hill – at the top of the Griffins' 1912 sc..

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