Two new high-rise apartment blocks are being planned for Belconnen next to one of Canberra's acclaimed landmarks.
The plan is for two 27-storey towers on top of a four-storey podium to be built opposite the Cameron Offices.
Most of the floors in the new towers would be for apartments, with the podium base containing car-parking, shops and a daycare centre for children. The whole complex would cover 8346 square metres, according to planning documents.
The proposed development is on the car park at the crossing of Benjamin Way and Cameron Avenue.
The Morris Property Group's application for approval has gone to the Commonwealth government. It's on Commonwealth land and it's only 34 metres from the Cameron Offices which are seen as of great architectural significance.
The Cameron Offices complex was built between 1970 and 1976 in what was then the highly fashionable "brutalist style".
It was the first public building in Belconnen and used to house various government departments, including the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Some of the concrete complex has been demolished and some is used for student accommodation by the University of Canberra.
When it was built, it won international acclaim by being put on the Union of International Architects Heritage register.
The developers of the proposed Twin Towers argue that the architectural merit of what remains of the Cameron Offices will not be overwhelmed by their new high-rise blocks. The architects have designed the towers to complement the existing much lower heritage building rather than to detract from it, they say.
"Careful design of the towers and podium in terms of external facade, expressed elements and materials and colour palette, can subdue any tendency for the towers to overwhelm the adjacent low rise building below, and ensure that the towers provide a complementary backdrop to the low rise Cameron Offices in the foreground," their report to the federal planning authorities says.
The developers' report concedes that the Cameron Offices are architecturally and historically significant: "Technically, it remains an important building because of its unique structural system, architecturally it is important for reasons that include the evidence it provides of the architect's intention to make the building pivotal in the life of the Belconnen Town Centre community, and historically it is important in the history of Canberra development, providing evidence of changing attitudes to development in the city."
But they don't think their building detracts from the Cameron Offices, saying: "The building is sufficiently robust to withstand the changing environment around it, and it is concluded that the proposed towers will not adversely impact on the heritage values of Cameron Offices."
Earlier in the year, the developer Hindmarsh lodged plans for what would be the southside's tallest residential development - a 445-unit complex rising 26 storeys above the heart of Woden.