Edmund Capon will list what he believes are the ten finest buildings in the world when he delivers the 49th Griffin Lecture to the National Press Club on Wednesday 4 November.
Is it possible to bring the qualities that so distinguish these buildings to the ordinary office block In Australia?
‘I’ve chosen palaces of sumptuous indulgence, great monuments to faith, buildings which excite the imagination. They all have one thing in common, a very large dose of the useless,’ Capon says.
‘These are buildings which we really love and which have stood the test of time. But odd though it may seem, it is the useless that has instilled immortality into these great edifices.
‘If only we could embrace such imagination and spirit into the purely functional office blocks and residential towers,’ he says. ‘And while we’re about it let’s ban casinos altogether, if only for their inevitably crass appearance.’
Capon is Chair of the Australian Institute of Architects Foundation that fosters and promotes the creativity of architecture. He will argue that architecture can have a strong positive impact on our cities, and should be nurtured.
Edmund Capon’s Ten Finest Buildings:
• St Peters, Rome
• Pazzi Chapel (Brunelleschi), Florence
• Chateau de Vaux-Le-Vicomte, France
• Notre Dame du Haut, by Le Corbusier, Ronchamp, France
• Taj Mahal, Agra, India
• Temple of Heaven, Beijing
• The Royal Crescent, Bath, UK
• La Defense, Paris
• Opera House, Sydney
• Guggenheim, Bilbao
The Griffin Lecture is a major event for the ACT Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects. Named in honour of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahoney, it is now in its 49th year.
Previous speakers include Gough Whitlam, John Gorton, architects Roy Grounds and Romaldo Giurgola, historian Manning Clarke, and Lord Mayor Lucy Turnbull.