An expert submission to an ACT government heritage study of Northbourne Avenue's public housing found the precinct represents the "pinnacle" of its architectural style and is critical to Canberra's urban design history.
The two 2012 reports by planning and heritage experts were prepared as part of the process of creating a conservation plan for the precinct, never released by the ACT government.
Obtained by the Canberra Times, they find the five different building types, surrounding landscape design and road planning represent leading examples of European and British-influenced architectural and city theory of the late 1950s.
Successfully linked to Walter Burley Griffin's plans for a garden city and the plans of the National Capital Development Commission head John Overall, the reports call for heritage protection to be enforced as a way of preserving Canberra's post-war public housing heritage.
Finding that the now run-down homes demonstrated "the purist form" of cubiform architectural imagery, the authors describe the buildings as some of the best work of Sydney Ancher, considered one of the most important Australian architects of the mid-century and a pioneer of Post-War International Modernist architecture in Australia.
The buildings are described as a "revolutionary" step forward for large-scale medium-density housing in Canberra and the best examples of their type in the country.
The Royal Australian Institute of Architects considered Ancher's work "forged a link between Australian tradition and 20th century architecture", the documents said.
This month another previously unreleased ACT government report showed an effective blueprint for the redevelopment of the area without compromising its "very high level of heritage significance".
The ACT government has rejected the findings and will push ahead with plans to demolish all but two of the buildings, allowing for about 1100 apartments to be built on the land and significant increases in density.
Public housing tenants will be relocated around Canberra as part of the plan.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said in February he believes only one building on either side of Northbourne Avenue should be retained, as the government plans to raise $400 million to benefit the city-to-Gungahlin tram line.
Next month, the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal will consider an appeal from the ACT National Trust branch, seeking to have the whole precinct protected. In February, the ACT Heritage Council gave protection to about 40 per cent of the Dickson Towers, Owen Flats, pair houses, three-storey flats and maisonettes.
The reports praise garden planning, trees, pergolas, internal service roads and the precinct's variety of common open spaces, and describe Ancher's familiarity with mass housing trends from the French community of Pessac, near Bordeaux, and German mass housing estates known as Siedlungen as central to the successful design.
The spaces created between the buildings and the set back from Northbourne Avenue are considered critical to the area's value, allowing space for trees and an articulated spatial pattern providing character and human scale.
"The result is a pleasing mix between architecture and landscape treatment, the result being a sense of unity, yet variety, and harmony."
"The Northbourne Housing Precinct achieved its landmark civic design 'gateway' objective through a visually cohesive combination of height and visual mass."
The reports describe the buildings as "an exemplar medium density in a garden city landscape genre of its time on a par with international housing schemes in such places as the 1950s and 1960s new town of Tapiola, Helsinki, Finland".
The ACT government has already secured $60 million in infrastructure sales bonuses from the Abbott government for the sale of public housing and surplus government office buildings. The sales are expected to reap $400 million for the territory budget, money which Mr Barr said would be reinvested in "new modern housing for our tenants".
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