Canberra architecture student Sarah Herbert has been envisaging a hypothetical Australian capital for the 21st century. Her capital city, if designed today, would have a different cultural identity. It would also have a strong focus on transport and sustainability.
For months, Ms Herbert, 24, has been studying everything from politics and cultural issues to Australia's identity in order to prepare for the CAPIThetical international design competition, which asked the world's designers to imagine how an Australian national capital might look if created today.
Yesterday Ms Herbert was announced as one of the competition's 20 shortlisted finalists, who will compete for up to $100,000 worth of prizes.
''I grew up on a farm in a really rural area, so to come and be shortlisted for a national design competition is fantastic,'' Ms Herbert said. ''I'm amazed I got this far.''
The Centenary of Canberra project marks 100 years since the original call for design entries for Australia's capital city.
It has attracted strong interest from artists, graphic designers, architects, urban planners and environmentalists from 24 countries.
CAPIThetical's jury selected the finalists from more than 110 entries. Just over 40 of them were students.
Centenary of Canberra creative director Robyn Archer said the jury was more interested in people's ideas than the materials they used.
''We asked them to look at what people were thinking around the time leading up to the original competition and the enormous optimism and aspirations that were around,'' Archer said.
''What we'll get out of it is a whole lot of thinking around what should a capital be? What are the sources of pride about a capital, what should it symbolise?''
Student entry John Kurko, who is studying architecture at Griffith University, was also named as one of the competition's shortlisted finalists yesterday. He has been thinking about a beachside capital instead of a bush capital.
He has also toyed with the idea of an indigenous parliament. He wants his hypothetical capital to resonate with Australians in the prime of their lives.
The shortlisted finalists, from various states in Australia and countries including Sweden, Britain, Canada, India and Malaysia, will deliver their final submissions later this year. Winning entries will be announced and exhibited from early next year to coincide with Canberra's 100th birthday.