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Sunday 18 Feb 2018 | 08:36 | SYDNEY
Sunday 18 Feb 2018 | 08:36 | SYDNEY

A short tour of Canberra's embassies



12 February 2010 13:43

One of my favourite online distractions is ArchDaily, showcasing some of the best modern architecture from around the world. Recently it featured drawings of the planned Spanish Embassy residence in Canberra:

Pretty enough, though as one of ArchDaily's commenters notes, those members of the public depicted lounging about the lawns are, in real life, likely to be separated from the building by a rather large fence.

There are one or two nice bits of architecture among Canberra's embassies, High Commissions and official residences, though 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 (the succession of war memorials along Anzac Ave has a similar effect, I reckon).

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. And when this tendency is in turn compromised by the practical consideration of simply creating an office space, well, ladies and gentlemen, I give you...China

Of the modern structures, here's Finland's slightly brutal effort: 

And among the more traditional buildings, the US Embassy and South African High Commission are both prominent on the skyline, though not of any great merit, if you ask me. I do quite like the new Chinese Consulate in Sydney, but I can't find a photo just now.

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