Great Hall, Parliament House

at , Canberra, 2600 Australia


Great Hall, Parliament House

Canberra , ACT 2600
Australia

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Parliament House is the heart of Australian parliamentary democracy, and one of the most open parliamentary buildings in the world.
Unlike many civic buildings, which express the power and tastes of individuals or political philosophies, Parliament House was designed to encourage public access and involvement while responding to the Australian climate, landscape, vegetation, and even the quality of the light.
The winning design of the New York-based architectural firm Mitchell/Giurgola & Thorp imagined a Parliament that symbolically rose out of the landscape.
Romaldo Giurgola, the principal Architect, said Parliament House could not be built on top of the hill as this would symbolise government imposed on the people...it was important that [it] be seen as extending an invitation to all citizens...
it…stands for this place where all people come and meet together…These Dreamings are part of this country that we live in…We've been trying to explain what the land means to us for the sake of all Australians .
The Great Verandah is the public face of Parliament House.
It is a space to welcome visitors and is the backdrop for ceremonies on the Forecourt.
The Marble Foyer features 48 marble columns that evoke the muted pinks and greens of the Australian landscape as well as the colours of the two Parliamentary Chambers, clad in green Cipollino marble from Italy and creamy pink Atlantide Rosa marble from Portugal.
It is located at the intersection of the north-south (land) axis and the east-west (legislative) axis, directly under the flag mast and between the Senate and the House of Representatives chambers.
The House of Representatives, or lower house, has 151 members and is the house in which government is formed.
The colour scheme of the House reflects the green associated with British Parliament’s House of Commons and the eucalypt green of the Australian landscape.
It also has marquetry elements designed by Tony Bishop of a wattle motif and made by Michael Retter, who also made the panels in the Marble Foyer.
These boxes were presented to Australian Parliament by King George V to mark the opening of the provisional Parliament House in 1927.
The Senate, or upper house, has 76 senators: 12 from each state and two each from the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.
The Senate reflects the red of British Parliament’s House of Lords and the shades of ochre red in the Australian landscape.
The Coat of Arms in the Senate chamber was created by Tasmanian sculptor Peter Taylor whose design includes Tasmanian myrtle with etched and slumped glass.
The architects crossed this axis with the legislative axis, which features both Houses of Parliament linked by the Members’ Hall.
Looking north from the roof, you can see Australian War Memorial, Lake Burley Griffin and Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House.
The building was designed to harmonise with the architectural features of Old Parliament House and to allow the older building to retain its unique identity.