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The Griffin Legacy
A Plan for the National Capital
Setting the scene
Many architects of the time distorted the landscape to accommodate traditional design principles. Walter Burley Griffin actively recognised the importance of the surrounding hills, distant mountains and local river systems as valuable features that could be set within a modern and democratic city design. Marion Mahony Griffin reinforced this message in a radio address in 1938, following the death of Walter:
City planning, as founded by Mr Griffin, was not a mechanical drafting board affair, imposing on the earth, destroying whatever got in the way… Such architecture does its share not towards keeping the earth alive, but toward killing it - this seems to be the only way in which human egos express themselves… In planning Canberra, every detail of the natural conditions were studied… to preserve them… so that the city could be a living healthy and growing thing.
The continent of Australia will do well to learn this lesson from its capital. Such reverence for the earth is acutely necessary now; for the rate of destruction is increasing rapidly, even in a century or two the Earth may not be capable of supporting life.
Use A PLAN FOR THE NATIONAL CAPITAL Background Notes and Map to complete the following research report.
What to do
- Compare map evidence of the National Capital at different times.
- Record your findings in a 600 word report.
Key points within your report should answer the following:
- Compare the ongoing development of Lake Burley Griffin and the bridges that cross it.
- Compare the changing surrounds of the Civic Centre.
- Identify changes in major roads and suburbs.
- Identify the inclusion or removal of recreational areas and parks.
- Explain why you think the name Federal Avenue was changed to Kings Avenue.
- Do buildings still flow from the city down to Lake Burley Griffin?
Select the City and Environs 1918 Plan and the 1925 Gazetted Plan. Show the differences between Griffin's final Plan and the Government Gazetted Plan using colour pencils.
Create a colour chart that shows specific changes (example - blue to represent water, green to represent gardens and red to represent buildings).