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Canberra’s dull, skulking skylines

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23.03.2019

Distinguished architect Roger Pegrum has just said with authority some things about the architectural tedium of Canberra skylines that I have (without authority) muttered and trilled in many a newspaper column.

He has just told The Canberra Times (‘Most Boring Skyline Ever”: Top architect wants revamped plan for Canberra CBD) that he "despairs" at Canberra’s skyline. He sighs at the way in which conspicuously big new buildings are all the same height and have a lack of variety in styles and dimensions.

Architect Roger Pegrum. Credit:Elesa Kurtz

“Come down Fairbairn Avenue and look at Civic - it's the most boring skyline ever,” he laments.

My regular peregrinations, from my home in Woden to my spiritual home, Reid Tennis Club, takes me towards the CBD along Commonwealth Avenue. At the point (just about where my old and sticker-festooned Barina chugs past the British and New Zealand High Commissions) where a promising CBD might leap, thrillingly into view the Canberra CBD makes its low, dull, architecturally apologetic appearance. Some city’s skylines soar. Canberra’s only skulks.

Cities with fine, varied, eccentricity-packed skylines set up excited expectations in the bosoms of those who approach them. Pulses quicken. Canberra’s CBD skyline has instead an anaesthetising, pulse-slowing impact.

For some years I struggled........

© The Sydney Morning Herald