Northbourne housing development should respect site’s cultural and heritage significance

The Australian Institute of Architects ACT Chapter encourages the ACT Government to incorporate the Heritage Council’s recommendations regarding the preservation of a proportion of the Northbourne public housing precinct.

‘The Institute supports the ACT Government’s commitment to improving the quality of building design in the Territory and the urban densification of the city including the redevelopment of the Northbourne precinct. However we believe that consideration of the heritage attributes of the original housing scheme should form part of any proposed design,’ ACT Chapter President Andrew Wilson said.

‘Heritage architecture contributes a rich layer to the fabric of the city. It is important to support the processes and decisions of the Heritage Council. In the approach to development of this site our governance, planning and design processes should give confidence that they are able to respond in a positive and nuanced way to the complexities of inner city redevelopment and are not compromised by reliance on land development to fund infrastructure.

‘Despite the current state of some of the buildings within the precinct, there is architectural merit in the Post-war International Style of the original Sydney Ancher Northbourne housing scheme.

‘Repurposing our existing building stock where appropriate also assists in reducing our impact on the environment.

‘The Institute supports the Government’s decision to develop the Northbourne precinct. It is vital for the city’s growth that we increase densification within the current city limits as opposed to the sale of green field sites. We are confident a high quality design which is sympathetic to the site’s heritage can be found for this important development,’ Mr Wilson said.