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Competition to replace 'embarrassing' Lodge

The Australian Institute of Landscape Architecture's Neil Hobbes, University of Canberra's Acting Vice Chancellor Nick Klomp, National Gallery of Australia director Ron Radford and Lodge on the Lake Design Ideas Competition advisor Annabelle Pegrum enjoy the surrounds on the banks of Lake Burley Griffin where the new, contemporary Lodge would be built.

The Australian Institute of Landscape Architecture's Neil Hobbes, University of Canberra's Acting Vice Chancellor Nick Klomp, National Gallery of Australia director Ron Radford and Lodge on the Lake Design Ideas Competition advisor Annabelle Pegrum enjoy the surrounds on the banks of Lake Burley Griffin where the new, contemporary Lodge would be built. Photo: Katherine Griffiths

The Canberra home of the Prime Minister is a poorly decorated embarrassment according to the director of the National Gallery of Australia.

“The only good thing about the Lodge is the Australian paintings that are lent by the Australian National Gallery because it's got extremely bad furniture,” Ron Radford said ahead of Saturday's launch of Lodge on the Lake Design Ideas Competition.

“It's shocking furniture you wouldn't have anywhere, it's actually cheap and nasty covered with awful floral chintz. It's terrible. It's an embarrassment,” he said while touring the proposed site of a new waterfront Lodge in Yarralumla.

The Lodge on the Lake Design Ideas architectural competition is a University of Canberra and Gallery of Australian Design initiative which encourages Australian designers to sketch their ideas for a more contemporary official residence for the Prime Minister on the banks of Lake Burley Griffin.

While University of Canberra's acting Vice Chancellor Nick Klomp jokingly suggested he would like to see a waterslide incorporated into the design, competition adviser Annabelle Pegrum said an entrance which could be accessed from the water would take advantage of the six hectare site which sits in a natural cove near Attunga Point.

Ms Pegrum said the bicycle path and a section of Alexandrina Drive “may or may not need to be redirected”.

“I think in fact it might solve some of the problems of access to the foreshore rather than create them because there will be a clear entry to this development both from the road areas but also from the lake front and it will engage people in the way that they can see the Lodge and see what’s happening there,” she said.

Judges will be looking for innovative designs that reflect the environment and the “Australian character” as well as incorporating local materials into the finished product.

“I want to see things that reflect Australia, Australian materials, something that we can be proud of. I will be looking also at the idea of private apartments for the Prime Minister and the public apartments as well to separate the two,” Mr Radford said.

“At the moment family and dogs have to spread into this tiny little Lodge and I think that there should be separate apartments where they actually live and where the Prime Minister formally entertains.”

The competition is open to Australian design professionals, graduates and students. Entries must incorporate all the ceremonial, private and security logistics required for the Prime Minister's residence.

The winning design will take home $80,000.

20 comments

  • The PM should reside at The Lodge. Leave the lake alone. All of the real estate around the lake should be for the Australian people to enjoy. There shouldn't be enclaves for the elite (already a sizeable portion of lakeside is out of bounds: Government House). In terms of the 'shocking furniture' in the Lodge - I thought it was being renovated - how much is that costing us taxpayers? On top of that you want us to fund a new water-side mansion? And a 'winning design' worth $80,000? Sounds like there's some big business interests involved here. Seriously - if you've got $80K to throw around you should be donating it to the homeless... what sort of society are we becoming?

    Commenter
    sew
    Date and time
    January 25, 2013, 4:21PM
    • @sew, you need to look at the background - the lodge, like old parliament house was only ever designed as a temp building back in the 1920s. We were meant to move the 'lodge' to the area reserved at the lake years ago. In addition the lodge has to be renovated because again its really old and success governments haven't want to put money into because of the way it looks/polical reasons - thus wiring is gone. I'm open to a new lodge if it was to incorpoate a few things like having a longer time spand and trying to incorporate more into it, i.e. part offices etc.

      Commenter
      Tom
      Date and time
      January 25, 2013, 4:39PM
    • With attitudes like yours our society would never do anything or go anywhere. Our architecture and culture is enhanced by inspirational public buildings. They serve an appropriate purpose in the present time and define our heritage for the future generations.

      Australia has not invested enough in outstanding public buildings because we always have to placate the naysayers who bellow on about cost ad nauseum.

      By the way I do agree about the lake. The building does not need to be on the lake shoreline. THis would also entail a security risk that would be expensive to mitigate.

      Commenter
      Realist
      Location
      Geelong
      Date and time
      January 25, 2013, 5:41PM
  • The Lodge was only intended as a temporary residence and it was so badly built, and has been so poorly maintained over the decades, that it is time to stop spending money on it and get a proper residence, fitting for the Prime Minister of a large democracy. Something grand but Australian, that will make us all proud.

    Commenter
    Craig More
    Date and time
    January 25, 2013, 4:28PM
    • So let's waste tens of millions on a house for one person while our hospitals, schools and armed forces are grossly underfunded. Good to see that the pollies have their priorities right as usual! Hypocrites.

      Commenter
      Ian
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      January 25, 2013, 4:43PM
      • At a charitable best the Lodge could be described as "quaint". More accurately it could be described as a product of 1920's architecture that has long since outlived its usefulness. But in brutal honesty it is an architectural abomination that is falling that is falling to bits and utterly unfit to be the principal residence of Australia's head of government. For the same reason Old Parliament House gave way to the new, so should it be with The Lodge. And, as with Old Parliament House, we will hear the same hackneyed objections on the grounds of cost. Tough, I say. The Prime Minister of Australia deserves a residence that can service the needs of the office into the 22nd century. To persevere with this tumbledown shack would be a national disgrace and an international embarrassment.

        Commenter
        drgrumblebum
        Location
        ACT
        Date and time
        January 25, 2013, 4:44PM
        • @ drgrumblebum - Ever seen, been or worked in the Edmund Barton Building? If anything is an "is an architectural abomination" that is it. Treasured by architects but rubbish. Thankfully they are/have gotten rid of the architectural nightmare in Belconnen (again treasured by architects).

          Hey that's an idea, knock the EBB down and build a new lodge there.

          Commenter
          Steve
          Date and time
          January 25, 2013, 6:38PM
      • @sew, Totally disagree with your comments. We (Australia) should have a world class home and perhaps administrative building (think the US White House) for our PM.

        The PM is our representative to the world, who among other tasks, is required to host other foreign leaders and dignitaries at his/her residence. The money spent on the construction of an impressive world renowned building will easily be offset by the many gains, not least to tourism and world standing. Having spent 6 months in Washington DC, and having seen firsthand the local’s pride in their city, I strongly feel Canberra should follow suit, and without delay erect a new PM residence asap!

        BTW, can I suggest a boat ramp on the lakeshore, where the PM can escort foreign leaders from the residence to a boat and entertain (schmooze/seal deals) on the lake.

        Commenter
        Sir Francis Drake
        Location
        Canberra
        Date and time
        January 25, 2013, 4:47PM
        • Actually the White House is an inappropriate comparison. It also is too small and outdated for the purrpose that it serves.. It's only saving grace is that it is situated in the downtown area and is connected to a number of related administration buildings by tunnels.

          Commenter
          Realist
          Location
          Geelomg
          Date and time
          January 25, 2013, 5:34PM
      • I agree the Lodge is a disgrace, and the 737800 series that she fly's around in, the Lodge should be at least 5 times bigger, and the aircraft should be bigger enough for the staff and press ,. I am not a fan of Gillard, but it would be a good thing.

        Commenter
        Martin Says
        Location
        Canberra
        Date and time
        January 25, 2013, 4:53PM

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