The North Canberra Community Council has obtained permission from the Walter Burley Griffin Society Inc, to republish their submission on the new ASIO building on Constitution Avenue (previously known as the “Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts Commonwealth New Building Project.”)
Introduction to the submission:
Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
Commonwealth New Building Project
EPBC Referral 2009/4814
The President of the Walter Burley Griffin Society Inc., Professor James Weirick, is making a submission with respect to the referral of this project.
We submit that this project should be designated a ‘controlled action.’ The building is massive and located critically in the central area of the National Capital amidst the constitutional symbolism, design geometry, symmetry, landscape character and evolving fulfillment of the National Capital vision.
Subsequently we received a Statement of Reasons from a DEWHA Assistant Secretary which made little sense and no justification of the decision that the project should not be ‘a controlled action.’
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- The official webpage describing the new ASIO building project is available here.
The Walter Burley Griffin Society was established in 1988 as a non-profit association by a group of people inspired by the need to commemorate and promote a better understanding of the lives, ideals, vision and works of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin. It brings together people living in the communities the Griffins helped to create, scholars, architects, urban planners and members of the general public interested in the Griffin legacy.
[Update: 03 August 2009]
ABC News Online: Federal Govt defends new ASIO headquarters
Whilst I understand potential opposition of the new central office for ASIO I find it difficult to comprehend the argument that it affects the Griffin legacy. Firstly, Parkes Way is an abomination of Canberra and completely ruins Griffin’s plans for uninterrupted access to the lake and was never in any of Canberra’s plans. I think the card to wave on legacy is truly out the window. Secondly, there is no-one living near the new building and the areas that the building will occupy has been an empty space with no function.
I support planning but there has to be a balance to move forward especially with the (unnecessary) amount of public space that serves no purpose other than to make Canberra one of the most least-densely populated city of its size in the world.