The launch of the program for the 2013 Centenary of Canberra celebrations. Creative director Robyn Archer.

Centenary of Canberra creative director Robyn Archer. Photo: Rohan Thomson

When did architecture surface again as sexy?

And why are a growing number of television shows and magazines all dedicated to chronicling renovations and restorations, the history and even the "happiness" of buildings?

These were among the questions posed by Robyn Archer last night, as part of the 2012 Don Aitkin Public Lecture.

As Creative Director of the Centenary of Canberra, Ms Archer was speaking on the capital as the setting for 100 journeys of contemplation and investigation in the coming year.

Between snatches of song and references to unmarked graves, Ms Archer spoke of her recent trip to Chicago promoting the centenary. It was there she met the city's cultural historian Tim Samuelson, who told her of his childhood spent forcing his parents to take him into interesting buildings.

"Now, this is a habit we could inflict upon the children of Canberra," she said.

"It's such a showplace of interesting buildings with such a fantastic history, such great design ... the Centenary of Canberra offers a paradise of themes and projects around architecture and design."

However she said next year was about more than Parliament House and Cockington Green - everything from euthanasia to gardening is set to be explored as part of the centenary celebrations.

A full program of events can be found online at Canberra100.com.au