It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of Romaldo ‘Aldo’ Giurgola, the renowned architect who designed Australia’s new Parliament House.
In so doing he made a profound contribution to our national identity.
Aldo, then a Columbia University academic, turned down an offer to judge the design competition because he wanted to enter himself.
In 1980, he won from a field of 328 entrants from 28 countries.
His design for Parliament House stayed true to Walter Burley Griffin’s vision of Australia’s capital as a complement to humanity and the landscape.
Aldo didn’t want a monument. He placed his building under a modest hill and called it a nest for the people’s Parliament.
Parliament House is a love letter to Australian democracy, designed so any citizen could walk across its grassy flanks. Every room is filled with daylight.
Aldo designed Parliament House to last 200 years. He wanted it to have room for people and functions not yet dreamed of.
While Aldo described Parliament House as his crowning achievement, it was not his only contribution to Canberra – he also designed St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Charnwood.
It is a privilege to work in Parliament House and represent Canberrans.
This building holds a special place in the hearts of Canberrans but also in the hearts of Australians who visit it every year.
Aldo Giurgola may have passed, but we in the nation’s capital will always remember his legacy and contribution to our city and country.
In 2005, a journalist asked Aldo how he would like his epitaph to read. “He was an architect,” he began, then paused. “That’s enough.”
Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations.
This is a joint release with Andrew Leigh MP (Fenner) and Gai Brodtmann MP (Canberra).