Architect who designed to symbolise democracy dies

Architect who designed to symbolise democracy dies

The architect who designed Australia’s Parliament House, Romaldo Giurgola, has died aged 95.

Giurgola won an international competition to design the Commonwealth of Australia’s new Parliament House in 1979 with his New York-based firm.He said Capital Hill’s distinctive design was inspired by democracy.

“We felt if Australia’s new Parliament House was to speak honestly about its purpose, it could not be built on top of the hill as this would symbolise government imposed upon the people,” he said.

“The building should nest with the hill, symbolically rise out of the Australian landscape, as true democracy rises from the state of things.”

Giurgola was born in Rome in 1920, the son of an artist and stage designer.

He obtained a degree in architecture from La Sapienza University and worked on Rome’s post-war construction before moving to New York aged 27.

He obtained his masters on a scholarship to Columbia University and worked with architect Ehrman Mitchell before moving to Australia to oversee the construction of Parliament House.

The academic and author later settled in the Kingston are of Canberra, saying he loved the city the moment he saw it.

“Because it is a unique example in the world where nature is still flourishing and is part of the life. Canberra is a unique example in the world. Of course you have examples of cities in the world with trees, but not done consciously the way it was done here … All this is something so precious I will fight for it until my last day,” he said.

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