The winners of CAPITheticAL, the international competition to design a hypothetical Australian capital city, were announced just last month in Canberra at the Gallery of Australian Design. A hundred years after the original call for design entries for Australia’s capital city, CAPITheticAL asked professional designers and students to imagine how an Australian national capital might look if created today. Western Australian landscape architecture firm Ecoscape won the $70,000 first prize for its submission, The Northern Capital. More images and information on the winning entries after the break.
First Prize: The Northern Capital by Ecoscape
Ecoscape’s submission is based on the division of national governance through the creation of a second capital city. Canberra, historically conceived at the time of Federation is located in the cooler south eastern corner of the country. The second capital, conceived 100 years later in a global environment, is located in northern Australia. The formation of a new capital is a response to strengthen relationships with our northern neighbors and galvanizing the population of northern Australia.
Drawing on the need to address the issues of population growth; financial, political and economic development; environmental and climate concerns; farming and food production; and acknowledging Indigenous Australian culture, Ecoscape proposed a new northern capital situated on the shores of Lake Argyle.
Second Prize: Sedimentary City Canberra by Brit Andresen and Mara Francis
In response to changing conditions, cities periodically grow and shrink and some fall into ruin leaving only fragments - seemingly to vanish, like many First Cities of pre-history. Cities are therefore rarely built from ‘scratch’ but are, over time, overlaid city-layer upon citylayer – so that within each new city-layer there are remnants of all previous cities.
The process of a Sedimentary City project involves a looking-back to look forward (and, looking forward to look back), in order to view the city as consisting of many cities coexisting in both spatial and temporal contexts and to inform the making of the future city. It is fairly self evident that the contemporary city has a spatial dimension and also that within it we see something of the past and already see something of the future. This process not only offers a basis for analysis and critique of the city but also invites the envisioning of alternative futures and in so doing looks to find balance, order and continuity between the nature of the first city and the built environment of the contemporary city to re-interpret this towards clarifying a vision for the survival of the future city.
Commendation Prize: Made in Australia: The Future of Australian Cities by Dr Julian Bolleter and Professor Richard Weller of the Australian Urban Design Research Centre
The analysis of the national landscape conditions leads to major development proposals for the southeast, the southwest and the north of the country. The proposals take the form of ‘mega regions’ defined by Richard Florida as ‘the most powerful and resilient economic structures of our time.’ Stretching from Brisbane to Melbourne in the east and Geraldton to Busselton in the west these regions are threaded together by both high speed rail and the national broad band network. Comprising of chains of comparatively small regional cities associated with high speed rail stations the megaregions hold the promise of liveability, connectivity and sustainability. In conclusion, in the 21st Century, Australia will need significant urbanisation. This should be rationally and holistically planned on a national scale and the design of specific developments should be strategic, catalytic and daring.
Student Prize: Proto:Capital by Kate Dickinson and Annabel Koeck
This project proposes that Canberra will be an experimental ground for a new city paradigm. This is inherently suggestive of its role as a prototype. The role of a prototype is to test a concept or process, to be later replicated or learnt from. The role of Canberra as the nation's prototype will give it the tools to be a 'great' city. It becomes more of itself through the amplification of its potential, while also giving the city a contemporary relevance to the rest of the nation. The prototype may have a short or long lifespan, it may be small and intricate or large and territorial. It is not static, but instead constantly reforms itself. If any city were to take on this role, it should be our Capital. This transient city, a network of parts, will build a landscape of knowledge and experimental practice.