2013 National Architecture Awards: Urban Design

2 & 4 National Circuit Precinct by Fender Katsalidis Urban Design: National Commendation Australian Institute of Architects

Jury citation

The precinct developed at 2 & 4 National Circuit presents a strong urban initiative within the context of a commercial development. It provides an alternative to the Canberra norm of the big block on the grand boulevard by developing a highly permeable “campus” that encourages the creation of a pedestrian community. This is consistent with moves by the ACT and Commonwealth governments to slow traffic and foster pedestrian activity.

The development also supports a “joined up” government approach by facilitating connections between government departments (as tenants in this development and in neighbouring buildings) and the individuals who work in them.

The project is effective at a number of scales. The development connects physically and visually to adjacent sites. The mix of materials and scales between the heritage building and the two new office buildings creates connections across the principal pedestrian plaza, which is fronted by activity-generating functions. Beautiful landscaping encourages the use of the finely scaled outdoor spaces. Site permeability extends into the richly finished foyers of the new office buildings, which welcome the public and form part of the cross-site pathways.

The project is also notable for its integration of underground car parking, which in turn means that the ground plane is preserved for pedestrians. This might seem obvious, but it is a real issue in Canberra, with its heavy dependence on vehicles and fondness for A-grade parking.

For a commercial development to show such urban generosity – in both its large-scale urban moves and the fine-grain landscape design – is valuable and highly commendable.


Fender Katsalidis Architects
Project Team
Chris Johnson, Joe Venuto, Karl Fender, David Sutherland, Craig Baudin
Builder Lend Lease, Icon Construction
Landscape consultant Oculus Landscape Architecture & Urban Design
Project manager Eastview
Site Details
Location Canberra,  ACT,  Australia
Project Details
Status Built
Category Landscape / urban
Type Outdoor / gardens, Public / civic



Published online: 7 Nov 2013
Words: National Architecture Awards Jury 2013
Images: John Gollings


Architecture Australia, November 2013

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