Romaldo Giurgola and the ‘Other’ Tradition of Modernism

PhD project by Stephen Schrapel

Until the announcement of the winning Mitchell/Giurgola competition entry for the Federal Parliament in June 1980, Aldo Giurgola, the lead designer, was a relatively unknown identity in Australia and knew little of the country. Over the intervening eight years until the completion of the Parliament in 1988, a transformation took place through which the Australian people were installed with a new Parliament building and Aldo Giurgola became a well known figure, ultimately choosing to migrate to Australia, specifically choosing Canberra. This research takes a closer look at this transformation and the work of Giurgola in Australia after the Parliament, specifically its roots in Scandinavian/Nordic modernism.

Stephen Schrapel is Senior Conservation Architect with the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Stephen worked for Mitchell/Giurgola Architects between 2001-2004 on the documentation of the Giurgola designed St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta (2004), giving him special insight into Giurgola’s design methodology.

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