When Catherine Townsend walks into the ACT government's new office building in Dickson her mood lifts immediately.
"It makes me feel good and it raises your own self-respect," she said.
"I'm really interested in buildings and how they can manipulate your mood and how you feel about yourself."
The ACT government architect said the building set the standard for design on Northbourne Avenue.
The building is designed by Sydney-based architecture firm Bates Smart and was developed by Doma Group.
Six levels of offices are set around an internal atrium with a glass roof and a striking spiral staircase as a centrepiece.
The offices have a flexible layout and it's all open plan, which Ms Townsend said put humans front and centre.
"Giving a workplace that gives all the minions a sense of feeling good and self-respect, that is the best you can ask for," she said.
"It takes the needs of humans and puts it really high up the brief so it is prioritising the human outcomes which is a result of doing all those social and environmental things."
Ms Townsend said the Dickson building should serve as an aspiration for further development on Northbourne Avenue.
Perhaps, most fittingly, the ACT's planning directorate is now based in the building.
Previously, the planning directorate was based in the Dame Pattie Menzies building, which is across the road from the new office. Ms Townsend doesn't mince her words she expressed her feelings about the old building.
"I shouldn't be too critical of that building per se but I felt diminished when I went in there," she said.
"The planning directorate has got to be in a building that walks the talk and it was an embarrassment before."
As the government architect, Ms Townsend plays a pivotal role in the development of buildings and place. Her main role is to provide advice to government on architecture, planning and design-related matters.
She said Canberra's design had faced many tipping points over recent years. One of those was the creation of the City Renewal Authority and another was the review of the territory plan.
"People have written about the territory plan for decades and about how difficult of a document it is and how it doesn't yield the quality outcomes that we actually want," she said.
"When the public have issues with outcomes, which might be the quality of buildings we get, we have to look at what are the mechanisms that shape the outcomes and there are many things that shape outcomes.
"There are economics and the characteristics of the developer but most strongly is the characteristics of the actual planning framework that we work within."
Ms Townsend said she hoped the review would result in better social and quality outcomes for buildings.
"The frameworks we have had up until now are all like an algorithm. They can say, 'You can go this high, you can go this wide and you can put these uses in it'," she said.
"Basically they are all about economic benefit and that's important but our territory plan hasn't been sufficiently cognisant of all those other outcomes, which are really important."
- This article is part of a series that looks at the favourite buildings of Canberra architects.