Sunday 25 Feb 2018 | 21:16 | SYDNEY
Sunday 25 Feb 2018 | 21:16 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: Canberra's embassies



15 February 2010 09:09

Last Friday, I wrote of Canberra's embassies and High Commissions that...

...the effect of having most of them clustered together in Yarralumla, near Parliament House, is to turn the precinct into something of a theme park...That's particularly the case when some countries see the task of designing an embassy as akin to a beauty contestant creating a 'national dress'. The PNG High Commission is a good example. Ditto India.

Will Grant responds:

I can't find the source at the moment, but I've heard that having embassies in the national style was a specific request of the Australian Government (or possibly the National Capital Authority's predecessors) in the early Canberra years. I'm sure your readers will be able to confirm or deny this.

What about it, readers? Is Will right?

I would pre-empt the answer slightly by saying that, even if this is correct, it hardly excuses excrescences like the Chinese Embassy. It is surely possible adopt a version of the 'national style' that doesn't lurch into caricature, and even to adapt that style to suit the local landscape.