JILA: In the 1912 competition winning scheme for Canberra, Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin presented the potential power of streets, proposing a city of avenues that demonstrated a deep resonance with the site, sensitivity to nature and a clear and precise understanding of and vision for Australian democratic society. The crowning piece of this street network was to be the Grand Boulevard, or Constitution Avenue, as it is now known. Modelled on the world’s greatest boulevards, it will be the city’s high street and premier address with the highest density of commercial and residential buildings, while also providing an address for some of the main cultural buildings of the recreation areas adjacent to Lake Burley Griffin. Our team realised Griffin’s Avenue system and Grand Boulevard, which is by no means nostalgic but remains visionary. As an urban project it possesses the potential to overhaul the way Canberra is traversed – improving the pedestrian journey, the driving experience, the potential to include high capacity transit modes as well as greatly improving the civic character and functioning of central Canberra. Just like Paris’ Champs-Elysses or Washington’s Pennsylvania Avenue, Constitution Avenue’s successful upgrade establishes it as one of the memorable urban boulevards and vistas of the world.
Collaborators: Hill Thalis Architecture + Urban Projects, MEC
Location: Canberra ACT
Client: Roads ACT for ACT Government
Project Period: 2012-2016
Images: John Gollings
Design: Hill Thalis Architecture + Urban Projects,
Manufacturing: Street Furniture Australia