Its primary character
is of a warped landscape which wraps Griffin’s
Land Axis. The cupped form is an
inversion of both Mount Ainslie and New Parliament House.
From across the Lake, Old Parliament House is positioned at the centre
of an ellipse, celebrating the
modest built beginnings of democracy in Australia. This ellipse is described
by the base of the Cupped
Square of Commonwealth Place and the curved line of New Parliament House.
The intention of the grand ramp was to be an inflected space, transforming
from wall to landscape
bench, physically connecting Commonwealth Place with the great lawn in
front of Old Parliament House.
Our hope was that the views linking Old Parliament House and the
waters edge of Lake Burley Griffin
would be clearly revealed and celebrated for the very first time.
The ramp now links to second
monument, the mound of Reconciliation Place.
Materials were specifically chosen to express a gentle and fluid
monumentality. The liquid light of the
glass walls plays with and softens the Canberra sunshine through
out the year. The flickering of glass
and the delicate and variegated pattern of the stone-faced back wall
is suggestive of a curtain draped
across the site, gradually lightening toward the ramp opening.
The dark pavement emphasises the cutting and incision of the landscape
and joins the recessive quality
of the grassed lawns of the Parliamentary Axis.
A grove of white birch trees navigates across the space, immediately
populating this grass theatre.
Bounding avenues of gum trees hold and ground this place within
the Parliamentary landscape.