25 May 2012

Design No 29 for your perusal

| johnboy
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griffin plan

The Griffin fetishists have had their knickers in a twist all week over Walter Burley Griffin’s “original report” for his design for Canberra.

The National Archive has put it online so you too can marvel at how comprehensively ignored it has been.

I don’t honestly know if Canberra would be better or worse if we’d followed the Griffin plan but there really is something nauseating seeing the linear successors of the bureaucrats who sacked the man basking in the reflected glory of his ideas.

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Interesting to see how the original vision has been perverted. The magnificent concept taken over by faceless bureaucratic committees. Where is the hexagonal grand Canberra Railway station? It appears it will be Queanbeyan Railway Station as the rail line is torn up to give way to the new suburb of East Lake.
I hope there is a revivalist school of art deco with curves rather than the current reversion to checkerboard town planning and boring rectangular blocks of flats. Magnificent designs such as in China, Dubai or elsewhere are not encouraged in Canberra.
Landscape Architecture is the poor relative, as people want McMansions that mean the built structure dominates the block. There is no room for the softening affect of landscaping, as this will affect the slab.
The grand plan has been perverted to a city like every other.

Holden Caulfield6:17 pm 25 May 12

A Museum of Graphic Arts?

Imagine that.

It’s always the way. The grey men get to smother any hint of creativity, it worries them.

From memory, Griffin had a big market building where those Kingston Foreshore (forsaken shore more like) disgraces are being cobbled up. His wife did a painting of how it would look, it was a pavilion type thing, a bit like the Queen Vic markets in Melbourne. Imagine that.

What impresses me is that he thought to stick the ‘Casino’ next to the ‘Commemoration’ all those years ago… must have been thinking Two-Up.

Hi there,

Tara Nichols from the National Archives of Australia here.

I’d just like to clarify that the online version you’ve posted here is a copy, held by the National Archives for a number of years, but not the actual document.

The original document itself was given to the National Archives on Wednesday 23 May, and has much better clarity than this copy. We do not have a link to it on our RecordSearch yet as it is still having some preservation work done on it.

The original document is on display for a short time at Parliament House.

Thanks for posting – you’ll be able to see many of the original Griffin plans, drawings, and other original finalist entries in the 1911 Federal Capital Design Competition, at the National Archives next year as part of our ‘Design 29: Creating a Capital’ exhibition.

That link isn’t portable… returns “Invalid barcode no:”

I think if you tack “?Barcode=[barcode]” on the end of the URL, it will work. Trying to track down the record myself, but the search isn’t the best…

should be fixed now

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