Commonwealth Place Kiosks

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Canberra is distinctive in international terms as a planned city. At the centre of the planning geometry sits the nations Parliament House. Its foreground consists of a range of buildings containing Australia's major public institutions - a sort of 'architectural zoo'. Each of these public buildings has scale and gravitas - mostly concrete sculptural works containing the High Court, National Gallery, and so on. The termination of this axis occurs in the form of the National War Memorial. The brief required amenity buildings to be located in the foreground of old Parliament House. These buildings are small in size and of a 'prosaic' use. Thus, the design proposition was an exploration of the tensions that exist within the brief itself. How does one install a toilet just meters from the central axis connecting our Parliament and lake? The uncanny (Vidler) nature of the planned city and the formal nature of the setting resulted in small, blank timber boxes that read as sculptural installations within this largest of sculpture parks. The potential for absurdity when Griffin's overarching geometry of the city plan is pushed to the limits, exploited in small adjustments to these seemingly regular objects that, when seen at close range, defy explanation (Powell). The uncanny silence of the objects is counterpointed by a surprise - the hidden system of coloured tubes which filter light in a dispersed manner, a scaling up of the dappled shade of the trees adjacent.
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