Canberra, Australia – At the beginning of the 20th century, civil architect Walter Burley Griffin was tasked with designing the masterplan of Australia’s new capital. Heavily influenced by naturalism in urban landscapes, Griffin believed that a design process must be malleable to allow for the inevitability of modernization. This perspective came to influence Universal Design Studio in the redesign of one of the city’s historic Modernist buildings – the Canberra Centre.
Griffin’s thoughts on a city’s elastic future are especially poignant in the given context. As the digitalization of the retail experience threatens the cultural value and significance of spaces like malls, it is necessary for such spaces to empower social engagement. Accordingly, the London-based studio completely revitalizes the former building while respectfully borrowing from its modernist past and incorporating visual reminders of the city’s relationship with naturalism.