Reconciliation Place

Urban / Landscape Design, Australia – National Competition Winner, Australian Government

 

Centred within Australia's Parliamentary Triangle, the winning design for the open national competition was 'chosen for its direct and timeless qualities' [1]. The design is vast, intricate, subtle and confronting. A mosaic of fragmented slivers of glass, steel and stone form an East-West promenade aligned with Griffin-Mahony's Water Axis, linking the National Library to the High Court and National Gallery and establishing a datum across the entire landscape. Experience is generated by shifts in elevation, spatial compression and release. The inner corridors reveal inscriptions, sounds, fire and water. At the midpoint, the Slivers splice the 'Midden' – a paved convex circular landform centred on the Land Axis. It is an outward looking, contemplative space: "a nexus from which both axes can be simultaneously, and almost ethereally experienced" [2]. A scallop provides a shaded rest area, while another slice addresses the Parliamentary lawns, creating a podium for events.

 

"Reconciliation Place presents a unique solution…[It] admits the complexity, contradiction and continuity of memory…lts form and its meanings provide an alternative to the physical, conceptual and thematic traditions and rigidities of stale commemoration…the layout and themes of this precinct contest the State's hegemony in defining the past”[3].

1. Jury Report, 'Design Competition for Reconciliation Place', 2001.

2. Christopher Vernon, 'Axial Occupation', Architecture Australia, 2002.

3. Stevens, Q & Franck, A, 'Memorials as Spaces of Engagement – Design, Use, Meaning', Routledge NY, 2016.

4. Competition Entry: Simon Kringas (Designer, Project Leader), Amy Leenders & Cath Elliot (Architectural Assistants), Sharon Payne (Indigenous Representative), Alan Vogt (Printing).

5. Context: Commonwealth Place by Durbach Block. National Library Fountain by Walter Bunning.

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