Parliament House architects Guida Moseley Brown (GMB) have released the initial designs for Canberra’s new $700 million Convention Centre, a UFO-like building that will be built on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin.

Designed with Rome-based architect Massimiliano Fuksas, the winning design was selected among six other design teams by a nine-member judging panel, which described it as a “poetic and sculptural treatment of architectural form”.

The judges, who included ACT Government Architect Alastair Swayne and Australian Institute of Architects gold medallist John Denton, also praised Fuksas + GMB for demonstrating an outstanding urban design sensibility to the site, with the design to transform and give primacy to the earmarked City Hill.

The announcement by Chief Minister Andrew Barr came on Monday evening, coinciding with the release of a Canberra Business Chamber and Canberra Convention Bureau report about the significant returns a new centre would inject into the economy.

The ACT Government has pushed for a new convention centre since as early as 2008, and sentiments among the business community are that the venue, which could host major international and national meetings, is the territory’s number one infrastructure priority.

With the initial designs now selected and released, Minister Barr says the way has been paved in making the new convention centre investment-ready:

“The next step is for the winning architects to work with the ACT Government, industry and stakeholders to finalise a reference design and business case for the centre.”