Parliament House Architect Dies

Thursday, May 19th, 2016
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The architect who designed Canberra’s iconic Parliament House has died, aged 95.

Italian-born Romaldo Giurgola designed new Parliament House at the invitation of the federal government in 1980 after his design was selected from 329 entries worldwide.

The building was opened by Queen Elizabeth in 1988.

Architect and friend of 35 years Ann Cleary said Prof Giurgola’s legacy was “up there with all of those who make an imprint on the understanding of who we are as a people, as a culture”.

“He’s really a man of humility and he really showed us how to see with a sense of perspective,” she told ABC radio .

She said he fell in love with Canberra and saw it as a poetic place, deciding to call the city home.

Prof Giurgola was born in Rome in 1920.

He studied at the University of Rome and Columbia in the US before creating Mitchell/Giurgola Architects, one of the world’s leading architectural firms.

In 2003, Prof Giurgola came out of retirement to help bring another landmark, Parramatta’s St Patrick’s Cathedral, out of the ashes after the Catholic Church was razed by an arsonist.

The then 83-year-old said he donated his time as an offering.

He was also awarded an honorary degree from Sydney University that year, along with Jorn Utzon, the architect who designed the Sydney Opera House.

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