When work began last year on repairs to the Shine Dome's instantly recognisable copper roof, placing COVID-19 inside it wasn't part of the original plan.
But the entire genome sequence of the virus that caused a global pandemic will become a part of the Canberra landmark for the next century.
A recording of the sequence was just one of countless items that have gone into a time capsule that has been placed in the recently restored roof, after it was damaged in last year's hail storm.
The time capsule, which is set to be opened some time after 2100, contains a snapshot of Canberra and Australia's scientific contribution in 2020.
As well as the genome sequence of COVID-19, other items placed inside the capsule include reports from the Australian Academy of Science prepared for the government as part of the COVID response, Canberra Times front pages from throughout the year encompassing the pandemic, bushfires and the hail storm, as well as the restoration plan for the Shine Dome.
Multiple scientific reports were also part of the capsule, along with the history of the science academy and profiles of female scientists and a list of academy fellows.
The academy's chief executive Anna-Maria Arabia said a lot of thought went into what would encapsulate one of the most tumultuous years in memory.
"We took it very seriously because it is a message for the future, because when it's found, we wanted future generations to know as much as possible about us," Ms Arabia said. "As individuals who have really dedicated their life to the creation of knowledge and to advance humanity, we gave it a lot of thought."
The idea by the academy for placing the time capsule in the top of the Shine Dome followed from traditions in Europe, where similar capsules were installed in domes prior to the completion of construction. Ms Arabia said recent restoration efforts presented a rare opportunity to do something similar in Canberra's own dome.
"The capsule fits very snuggly inside," she said.
"There's a cavity right underneath the apex, and we stored the time capsule there, which is a main box and two cylinders."
The academy's chief executive said she hoped when the time capsule was opened, scientists in the future would be able to say the challenges and concerns of 2020 were able to be met and solved.
Restoration works for the Shine Dome had been under way since November, placing a new copper layer over a timber frame.
The original copper remains in place beneath the new layers.
The restoration of the Shine Dome has involved the installation of 1888 copper tiles, each custom made, weighing more than 15 tonnes combined.
First built in 1959, it was the first building in Canberra to be placed on the National Heritage List. Work on the Shine Dome's restoration is expected to be completed in coming weeks.
Additional work is still needed on parts of the building not relating to the roof, such as re-rendering arches. A reopening ceremony is being planned for later in the year.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: