Canberra visionary Enrico Taglietti posthumously recognised in Australia Day Honours

Enrico Taglietti has been posthumously appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the 2020 Australia Day Honours.

The late modernist architect, who emigrated from Italy to Australia in 1955, passed away in May 2019. He was also awarded the Australian Institute of Architects’ 2007 Gold Medal.

Taglietti has been recognized for his “distinguished service to architecture, particularly in the Australian Capital Territory, to education, and to professional organizations.”

Taglietti established his practice in Canberra in 1956 and built more than 30 projects across the capital. His notable buildings include Dickson Library (1964) and Giralang Primary School (1975), both of which received the 25 Year Award from the Institute’s ACT Chapter and are listed on the ACT Heritage Register. In 2014, the ACT Chapter named the highest accolade for educational architecture in his honour and recognized his Apostolic Nunciature (1977) with the Enduring Architecture Award.

His other well known projects include the Australian War Memorial Annexe (1978-79) and Smith House in Sydney (1970) and St Kilda Library in Melbourne (1972).

He was an adjunct professor of architecture, design and planning at the University of Canberra from 2009 to2019 and a member of the Australian Institute of Architects from 1967 to 2019.

“His European training and cosmopolitan flair were evident in his work from the start and his buildings stood out amongst the tame Anglo-Australian products of the time. Clearly outside the Australian architectural mainstream, they were both intriguing and idiosyncratic and gave distinction to the emerging city of Canberra,” wrote Howard Tanner in his obituary.

“A wonderful character, Taglietti was much loved and appreciated in Canberra, in part for his architectural contribution, but also for his engaging manner and joie de vivre.”

Elsewhere in the Australia Day Honours, Harriet Edquist has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for “significant service to architectural history and design, and to higher education.

Edquist has a professor of architectural history and has been the director of RMIT Design Archives since 2007. She is a member of the Society of Architectural Historians Australian and New Zealand and was present of the society from 2003 to 2005. She was editor of Transitions: Discourse on Architecture from 1987 to 1992 and a two-time recipient of the Bates Smart National Award for Architecture in the Media – first in 1992 for Transitions, then in 2004 for Harold Desbrowe Annear: A Life in Architecture.

Interior and industrial designer Mary Featherston has also been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) “for significant service to the arts, particularly to interior and industrial design.”

Featherston is a pioneer of design for children’s learning environments and is the founder of Children’s Museum (1983-1989). She was partner investigator of an Australian Research Council-funded study, The School: Designing a Dynamic Venue for the New Knowledge Environment Linkage Project, from 2007 to 2010.

In 1965, she married furniture designer Grant Featherston and began a three-decade-long partnership that produced many iconic furniture designs including Talking Chair, commissioned by Robin Boyd for the Australian Pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal, Numero IV lounge (1973), Obo chair (1974) and Stem dining chair (1969).

Mary and Grant Featherston were among the inaugural Design Institute of Australia’s Hall of Fame Inductees in 1996.

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