A house designed by a leading local figure of modern architecture has been cleared for demolition after the territory's heritage body decided it would not meet the criteria for registration.
Derek Wrigley's 1959 Paral House on Brockman Street in Narrabundah had an application approved for its demolition before Wrigley's family made an application to heritage list the site.
But while the ACT Heritage Council decided to accept the nomination on Thursday, the council also decided not to issue a direction under the Heritage Act to stop the demolition.
Wrigley, who died in June aged 97, said the house was one of his best and least known.
"It was a quiet, restrained house, but ... my awareness of the need for low energy and resource use was not yet fully honed. The roof was Stramit - relatively new at that time, but it was (in retrospect) not fully effective as a thermal barrier," Wrigley wrote of the project.
"We had not yet fully woken up to the coming need for constructional corrections to prepare for the coming global warming and subsequent climate changes."
ACT Heritage Council chair Kenneth Heffernan said the council could not be satisfied the house would meet the strict heritage criteria to protect the site.
Dr Heffernan said the council had worked faster to assess the nomination because of the planned demolition work, but the impending demolition had not affected the council's decision making process.
The council would not shy away from issuing directions to prevent demolitions if the council could be satisfied places would meet the criteria for heritage registration, he said.
"If it did hit the mark, we would have been in a situation where it's likely we would have used that power. That's the obligation on us, and it's not always an easy one," Dr Heffernan said.
Dr Heffernan said lack of professional recognition for the house, a history of modifications and it not being a highlight in Wrigley's architectural career meant the Paral house did not satisfy the threshold for permanent protection.
The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal in 2019 struck a modernist house originally designed by Harry Seidler from the ACT heritage register, citing its history of modification as a reason for its ineligibility.
Dr Heffernan said the council was cognizant of the tribunal's decisions and did not want to waste public money by adding places to the register if the tribunal was likely to over turn them.
National Trust ACT president Gary Kent said it was sad the house would be demolished, but it showed the need to focus efforts on protecting what was left of mid-century architecture in Canberra.
"It's very important that these assessments are made much earlier than at the last minute. They need to be made when there's an opportunity to collect full information about the house and to have a discussion about its heritage value. This reinforces the need for an audit," Mr Kent said.
The National Trust is working on an audit of Canberra's mid-century houses, which the organisation says will better inform future heritage applications.
Mr Kent said it was sad to lose the house designed by Wrigley only weeks after his death.
"There are other Wrigley houses left, but that was a particularly special one," he said.
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