Tim Ross believes that architecture and identity go hand in hand - particularly when it comes to Canberra.
While every other Australian city is tinged with colonialism, the relatively young capital offered the country the chance to create a cityscape in its image.
The result is one where modernist design shines through.
"Sure there's a fair wack of internationalism in terms of some of those modernist buildings but where they sit in terms of the landscape, and because there is that space, it's undeniably ours and us," the comedian and architecture buff says.
"But somewhere along the line, we've forgotten that architecture is important. Canberra should be a place where everyone goes to roll around in the best architecture we could possibly conjure up, and the best architecture in the country should be used to create a utopia in a way."
Canberra - as Ross sees it - is the city where culture lives, and that shouldn't be limited to the culture housed within its buildings, but the architecture as well.
"There is something about architecture that if you allow it to, it should be like a great film or a book or a piece of music," Ross says.
"I don't know why but some people prefer not to let it move them, or don't know how to let it move them."
Ross says Australians should be able to bring the family to Canberra on holiday and experience a space that is truly Australian - "It can inspire them rather than the classic Australian holiday of Movie World on the Gold Coast."
But with new developments taking over the capital, Ross says Canberra is at a crossroads, and it's time to start considering the role the city's architecture should play.
Just like Sydney when it began to replace historical buildings in the 1950s - which went on to inspire the heritage movement - Ross says Canberra is now in the situation where decades-worth of architecture is at risk of being replaced by what he deems to be "pedestrian buildings".
"Like everywhere, people are dealing with density in different ways, and some of it has been great," Ross says.
"There's just not enough thought about how all of these buildings play a part in the history of an incredibly young city. I think it's a lack of leadership. There's always a desire to make something look progressive.
"If everything looks modern - which they did with Canberra - it's far more exciting, which is far more appealing.
"I suppose at the heart of it, Canberra is trying to prove that people who think that it's dull or old-fashioned are wrong and that if we do things that are new and exciting, then it will be more attractive to people. It's a misunderstanding of why Canberra is attractive in the first place."
One architect who has contributed to Canberra attractiveness as a city is John Andrews.
The Australian architect, who is celebrated in the United States and Canada for his modernist buildings such as the CN Tower in Toronto andGund Hall at Harvard University, is relatively unknown in his home country.
This is despite him being the man behind numerous buildings across Australia. In Canberra alone, he has designed the Callam Offices in Woden, the Cameron Offices in Belconnen and the student residences at the University of Canberra.
His work here in Canberra will be in focus during next month's DESIGN Canberra with Ross both hosting a talk with architect, and exhibiting The Practical Outsider which highlights Andrews' contribution to architecture.
Canberra should be a place where everyone goes to roll around in the best architecture we could possibly conjure up.Tim Ross
"The story of John having this incredible body of work in North America that is respected and revered overseas, and the same thing is not happening in Australia, has been an important story to tell for a while," Ross says.
"I think it helps for everyone to hear the story of particularly those Canberra offices and hear his view on it. The partial demolition and how they sit today is an important story that we can frame the overall conversation - not just about Canberra - but about Australia and how we value architecture, or why we don't value it."
Along with the partially demolished offices, Andrews' convention centre in Sydney's Darling Harbour has been demolished, and the King George Building (formerly known as the American Express Building) has been changed dramatically.
Over the years, Ross has heard many reasons why people don't value architecture or a particular building. Sometimes people simply fall out of love with the design, or maybe it comes down to its representation of a bad job or experience. At times it can be as trivial as "it's too far to walk to get a sandwich".
"I've heard lots of reasons ... and that's fine but certainly, to see the offices today, it's something that I think is great but there is a great sadness to how the Callam Offices sits, partially demolished, and unloved, neglected," he says.
"It says a lot about how we view our recent architectural past. And it's also about the legacy of John, which is not just in Canberra. What is it with us that we can't just do what the Americans and the Canadians do and celebrate his work?
"I've never been around the building before it was partially demolished so it's hard for me to make those judgement calls but all I know is that everything that I've seen about it, I've found really appealing. I think we should have done everything that we could possibly do to make it work."
It's not surprising Ross is a fan of Andrews' work - he is a self-confessed modernist fan after all.
But what Ross believes to be good design - obviously - extends outside the modernist style. What makes a good building comes down to the consideration that has gone into it.
"The buildings that always impress are the ones that someone has thought about the material, the orientation, how it feels to be in it," he says.
"Sometimes it's not necessarily the style - some of them can be loud, some of them can be quiet - it's just the feel, and the reason they feel so good is the thought that goes into it.
"If no thought has gone into a building and its reason for being is to make money or to be built quickly or to be economical without thought, you can feel it. If you make buildings without consideration, also, of people, they're going to be terrible."
Tim Ross' five favourite Canberra buildings
1. The National Gallery
The thing I like about the gallery, and I suppose it happens with a lot of Canberra's buildings, is it's a monument in the paddock in some way and incredible buildings like this just sort of just pop up. I love the gallery and I love what it stands for and the fact that you have this wonderful brutalist building and it's free. It's everything that Canberra should be, for me. You can go and walk into this incredible building and see the best of Australian and international art. And the building gives you as much as the artwork does. I think that's what I like about the gallery. It moves me, I suppose. I think our civic buildings should make us proud and that's what the building does for me. It's that combination of extraordinary Australian architecture and extraordinary Australian art as an expression of who we are.
2. The Shine Dome
I love The Shine Dome by Roy Grounds. I think in terms of it as a positioning of a new Canberra and how it just sort of gives a sense of optimism. It is an optimistic building and there's a moment in a series which I made for the ABC, Streets of Your Town, where it signifies Australia's coming of age and embracing modernism and this hope for the future.
3. Urambi Village
I really like Urambi Village by Michael Dysart. It's a collective housing estate and I just love those houses that just sit in the bush and it's so Australian. I don't think we do as anything as successful as that and, to me, they - once again - represent the best things that Canberra has to offer. The bush suburbs, as Robin Boyd used to call them.
4. Churchill House
Speaking of Robin Boyd, certainly the Churchill House on Northbourne Avenue - which was his last building. I think it's a cracker and I think it's an important building to highlight because it hasn't been given the recognition from a heritage point of view that it should. It's not listed and I think that's a travesty. I think Canberra is at a crossroads really. With less than 100 years of built history and it's doing a good job of destroying some of the best of it, or not respecting the best of it. If you stack what has happened in the last 10 years in terms of not respecting 60/70 years of architectural history, if you removed those from any other city in the country there would be an outrage but we just don't quite know how to manage Canberra and its growing pains. I think we need to keep the very best of the old and look after it and make sure the best of the new stacks up.
5. The National Library
I think the National Library should be in there too in terms of a great monument and a great building that shows that some classicism in modernism can be quite appealing. It's a building fit for the nation's capital. Would we build it today? Probably not. Would we care as much about a library today? Probably not. But it's a stunning building and it's a much-loved building and I think it would be more popular today than ever which says something good about where we are going.
- DESIGN Canberra runs from November 4-24. For the full list of events go to designcanberrafestival.com.au.
- The Practical Outsider exhibition runs at East Space Gallery from November 13 to 24.
- John Andrews + Tim Ross: Public Conversation is at ANU Kambri Cinema from 6pm on November 13. Tickets from designcanberrafestival.com.au.