The new ACT Government Architect is a local and also a fan of Canberran architecture.
Director of Canberra-based Townsend + Associates Architects, Catherine Townsend started her new job in the nation’s capital on Wednesday, and in her first media address in the role, noted that although she’ll advocating for “well” done development in the city, there’s at least a few things she’d like left alone.
Townsend told Fairfax Media that she looks forward to working with the ACT Government on improving quality of life in Canberra through good design and also that she believed Canberra will need to change in order to accommodate higher-density living.
"Our cities are growing and certainly an element of the community would like us to remain static and not grow any more,” she says.
"[But] Canberra will change and we will have to balance the greenfield with the infill. There will be infill. That's a fact of life. And we have to make sure we do it well."
But Townsend’s address wasn’t all about the new. The award-winning architect did take time to name her top five favourite buildings in the nation’s capital.
Townsend’s favourite Canberra buildings:
The Shine Dome by Roy Grounds
Photography by Melissa Adams
"It was futuristic when it was built and 50 years later it's still futuristic. It was a great concept and superbly crafted."
The High Court by Christopher Kringas
Photography by Jeffrey Chan
"Again a great concept. The quality of design and the craftsmanship was unbelievable. You won't get concrete like that again.
"Also, Bruce and I married there, on the steps. It makes a fantastic cathedral."
University House at ANU by Brian Lewis
"For its scale, its form, its craft. And the way it brings the inside out with a wonderful outdoor area and pond."
Charnwood church, St Thomas Aquinas Parish Church by Romaldo Giugola
"It's an extremely modest building, but it has an interior warmth. It's a building that provokes an emotional response and that's rare.”
National Arboretum Canberra by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects
Photography by Graham Tidy
"As a whole. The concept is mind-blowing and the exploration of land and form is extraordinary. The fact it will continue to change is one of its great things."
Townsend replaces the ACT's first Government Architect, Jackson Architecture director Alastair Swayn, who submitted his resignation earlier this year due to ill health and passed away in August.