Australian Capital Territory

Canberra's NewActon Precinct: An AAUD winner

CANBERRA'S NewActon Precinct was the joint winner of the Large Scale Delivered Outcome category of last year's Australia Award for Urban Design, which aims to recognise projects for the significant difference they made to the places, spaces, buildings and infrastructure of our cities.

NewActon is a mixed-use urban village incorporating landscaped gardens, art, retail, hotel, restaurants, cinemas, residential and commercial spaces all linked by an inspired vision. The 2-hectare-plus site is bounded by Edinburgh Avenue, Parkes Way and Marcus Clarke streets

Aerial of view of NewActon precinct and surrounding area
Above: Aerial of view of NewActon precinct and surrounding area.

NewActon Precinct: Molonglo Group, Fender Katsalidis and Oculus

Canberra has had a mixed urban design reputation. Driven by the original 20th century vision of Walter Burley Griffin, it developed slowly from a fledgling town to what has now a dynamic mid-size City. This exciting project by Molonglo Group, Fender Katsalidis and Oculus adds a significant new dimension to Canberra.

At its core, it is a creative approach to a privately financed collection of buildings housing a variety of uses. But this basic underpinning has achieved a precinct of surprise and delight that is a rich place of outstanding quality and design. Daily office workers come to mix with full time residents, young and older visitors at leisure, and those staying in the precinct's hotels.

Eastern courtyard looking to NewActon East building
Above: Eastern courtyard looking to NewActon East building.

The thread of ideas has provided an integration between the building uses and the spaces between those buildings, attractive places to meet and connect, enriched by public art and cultural programs, and respect for the heritage of the area. The whole development has embodied environmental consciousness and, with a key goal being 'not to be ordinary', the project is an exemplar for Canberra as it moves into the 21st century.

Heritage lobby of NewActon East building
Above: Heritage lobby of NewActon East building.
Mocan and Green Grout cafe in NewActon South
Above: Mocan and Green Grout cafe in NewActon South.
NewActon East and South buildings
Above: NewActon East and South buildings.
NewActon Nishi building
Above: NewActon Nishi building.

More about the Australia Award for Urban Design

The Australia Award for Urban Design was established to recognise recent urban design projects of high quality in Australia and to encourage cities, towns and emerging settlements of all sizes to strive for similar improvement. It acknowledges the critical role of good urban design in the development of our cities and towns.

The Award is hosted by the Planning Institute of Australia, with support from the Australian Institute of Architects, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, Green Building Council of Australia, Consult Australia, Engineers Australia, the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council and the Urban Design Forum.

Nominations are being accepted until Thursday 30 July, 2015, with judging to take place in August and the award event to be held in September. Further information is available from the Planning Institute of Australia website at <>.

Photos: NewActon Precinct, Canberra / Used with permission.

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