CAPITheticAL winners

View from summit of Mount Ainslie by Marion Griffin_1912_ Image  supplied by National Archives of Australia

The four winning propositions for the CAPITheticAL competition for a hypothetical Australian capital were announced on 14 March.

The CAPITheticAL competition, for the design of a hypothetical Australian capital, announced its winners on 14 March at the Gallery of Australian Design. Over 1200 registrations were received for this competition when it asked students and designers in 2011–12 to speculate on how an Australian national capital might look if it were created today. Entries came from twenty-four countries with seventy-four entries from Australian participants, seven of which were from Canberra.

In May 2012, twenty entries were shortlisted by the jury of: Professor Barbara Norman (chair), Dr Catherin Bull, Councillor John McInerney, Callum Morton and Professor Alastair Swayn. Finalists were selected from forty-one student entries and seventy-three open category entries, from Australia and overseas. CAPITheticAL marks the centenary of Canberra in 2013.

First Prize:

The Northern Capital by Ecoscape Aust (Fremantle)

First Prize The Northern Capital by Ecoscape Aust_Fremantle

The Northern Capital creates a prosperous and resilient city that is part of the Asian region and the world. The placement of federal power in The Northern Capital symbolizes Australia’s commitment to the region. The new capital would represent a rebirth for Australia – one that would include an indigenous role in both government and economic growth.

Second Prize:

Sedimentary City by Brit Andresen and Mara Francis (Brisbane)

Second Prize_Sedimentary City by Brit Andresen and Mara Francis_BrisbaneSedimentary City explores place memory and place continuity: it introduces from the past qualities that continue to engage the imagination. The late-twenty-first-century layer has evolved as a defensible, convivial, micro capital city ringed by extensive productive fields, outlying fold-out shelters and mobile camps, restored memorials, treasure houses and meeting grounds.


Mega Regions by Dr Julian Bolleter and Professor Richard Weller (Perth)

Commendation_Made in Australia_The Future of Australian Cities by Dr Julian Bolleter and Professor Richard Weller_PerthMega Regions proposes a “new north”; a twenty-first-century Australasian city appended to Darwin. The concept derives from matching Canberra’s early-twentieth-century urbanism with its twenty-first-century counterparts. The three major catalysts for the urbanization of Darwin are relocation of the airport, expansion of the port and the creation of a high-quality international university.

Student Prize

Proto: Capital by Kate Dickinson and Annabel Koeck (Sydney)

Student Prize_Proto_Capital by Kate Dickinson and Annabel Koeck_SydneyProto: Capital by Kate Dickinson and Annabel Koeck explores an adaptable design of participative, networked parts to best serve the changing needs of a nation. Canberra will not just be a capital city but a “nation’s capital”; a prototype for others, using research and diffuse forms of urbanization supported by an elaborate network of hydrological, agricultural and experimental infrastructures.

Jury comment

The jury made a unanimous decision in its final overall recommendations, and believes strongly that the top three entries form an important and integrated narrative about the future challenges and the nation’s capital, that include: better connecting to the north, our indigenous communities in that region and to SE Asia; recognizing and responding to extreme weather and climate change and living with our environment; and embracing regional Australia as a critical consideration in our strategic national vision.


6 March – 7 May 2013 at Gallery of Australian Design Canberra

This article was first published in architectureau