Cartoonist and journalist Eleri Mai Harris has created a graphic account of the historic planning and design of Canberra by American architects Walter Burley GriffIn and Marion Mahony Griffin.

Titled ‘The Utopian City That Wasn’t’, the comic book story explains how the architects designed a utopian vision for the Australian capital of Canberra, but argues that the city has become a “mutant echo of what was proposed.”

The Griffins, who had previously worked for Frank Lloud Wright, won an international competition to design Canberra in 1912 with a proposal they put together while on their honeymoon.

Their design was inspired by models from the Garden City and City Beautiful movements and centred on a ‘natural amphitheater.’

Canberra was supposed to symbolise the new Australian democracy but, according to Harris’ telling of the story, the plan was compromised by the bureaucratic process and was slowly torn apart over a number of years.

You can read Harris’ comic in full on Medium.

Courtesy Archinect and Eleri Mai Harris