lahznimmo architects were invited to participate in a select design procurement competition set by the National Capital Authority (NCA) to design a new pedestrian and cyclist crossing for Bowen Place.
Within the context of the Parliamentary Zone, and the important heritage listed items the design response is simple and elegant, slotting into the precinct with as little fuss as possible. It does not detract from or compete with the existing items within the environs, nor does it limit the future aspirations to expand or create new significant insertions. It responds to and enhances existing geometries, landscape and place making opportunities.
The design response is fundamentally landscape driven - the new underpass is part of a continuous path that slices through the terrain on a trajectory that speaks to the existing geometries of Bowen Place and the National Carillon. The new insertion is deliberately minimal to allow the landscape setting to take precedence.
The path is contained by two wall types, the Deferential Wall – a taut smooth off-white pre-cast concrete that deliberately defers to the existing palette of materials and tones within the Parliamentary Zone; and the Assertive Wall – composed of a deeply profiled weathering steel that naturally ages to a rusty ochre appearance and appears to be wrinkled and compressed as it follows the tighter inside line of the path.
Situated between the underpass and Lake Burley Griffin, the Rain Garden collects and filters surface water from Bowen Place before it enters the lake. The compact copse of paperbarks sit within a bed of strappy green rushes and native grasses, framing the view from the underpass to the Carillon. At the lake’s edge a simple, generous, seating wall looks out over a carpet of juniper to the lake and Carillon beyond.