The Australian Institute of Architects ACT Chapter has urged the ACT Government to ensure the Northbourne housing development considers the site’s cultural and heritage significance.

The Institute encouraged the ACT Government to incorporate the Heritage Council’s recommendations regarding the preservation of a proportion of the Northbourne public housing precinct.

According to ACT Chapter President Andrew Wilson, the Institute supports the ACT Government’s commitment to improving the quality of building design in the Territory and the urban densification of the city including the redevelopment of the Northbourne precinct. However, it’s important that any proposed design incorporates the heritage attributes of the original housing scheme.

Observing that heritage architecture contributed a rich layer to the fabric of the city, he explained that the governance, planning and design processes should be able to respond in a positive and nuanced way to the complexities of inner city redevelopment, without being compromised by reliance on land development to fund infrastructure.

Wilson noted that despite the current state of some of the buildings within the precinct, there was architectural merit in the Post-war International Style of the original Sydney Ancher Northbourne housing scheme.

Extending the Institute’s support for the Government’s decision to develop the Northbourne precinct, he said it was important for the city’s growth that densification was increased within the current city limits as opposed to the sale of greenfield sites. The Institute is confident a high quality design sympathetic to the site’s heritage can be found for this important development.