From 250kms of shelving woven into the National Library of Australia to a QR code that is hidden in plain sight at the National Museum of Australia, design is at the heart of Canberra.
Post-modern and modern influences blend together at the National Museum of Australia
Located on the scenic Acton Peninsula, you would never guess the National Museum of Australia is a museum from the outside. Some might wager it is home to a rollercoaster ride, whilst others believe it is just one giant sculpture. Pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle, this postmodern structure has a vibrant palette that catches the eye.
Inside the walls are exhibitions illustrating the stories and personalities of Australia, but we recommend exploring the walls themselves. Smooth anodised aluminium panels transition into concrete with raised dimples and sunken holes forming words written in braille. Keen for more? Continue around the building to the eastern wing where, its tiled walls, appearing to be purely decorative with eye pleasing colourful patterns, your phone knows better. Point a QR reader at the wall and you’ll be taken directly to the museum’s website.
Don’t let the colourful pattern on our administration wing fool you as being purely decorative. If you stand in just the right spot, you’ll find a QR code that takes you directly to our website. Come and give it a go 🧐🔎💡📸#InCanberra pic.twitter.com/pZgoktaysU— NationalMuseumAust (@nma) July 3, 2019
National Library of Australia is the library to end all libraries
Over 250kms of shelves filled with books from around the world is housed within the walls of the National Library of Australia. To put that in perspective, you could drive from the library to heart of Ingleburn, on the outskirts of Sydney, and you still wouldn’t have clocked 250kms.
We collect so much more than just books but here's the dozens of new publications we have received in the last few days for our collection. We collect a copy of every book published in Australia and have over 250km of shelves! #InCanberra— National Library Aus (@nlagovau) July 5, 2019
Start browsing: https://t.co/chBLMVUpLU pic.twitter.com/T1dEaVd8hK
250kms of shelving translates into over 10 million publications. Understandably some of these materials need to be stored in the stacks. Head behind the scenes with a guided tour to see this hidden treasure trove and the old school method of requesting publications, the pneumatic tube system.
With over 10 million items in our collection there are countless hidden gems at the Library. One 💎 you can only see on a behind-the-scenes tour every Thurs @ 2pm is our pneumatic tube system, which was used as late as 2001 for requesting material from the stacks. #InCanberra pic.twitter.com/1i9fqF7FYP— National Library Aus (@nlagovau) July 1, 2019
Walk across Australia at the National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery is home to iconic portraits of Australian legends from across the nation. Look beyond these artistic masterpieces to admire the work of design masters. Before you get to the first exhibition you’ll already have walked over a priceless piece. Strips of granite from each state and territory line the floor of the main entrance hall allowing visitors to walk across Australia in 50 odd strides.
Something that everyone can see but perhaps not notice when visiting the National Portrait Gallery are the strips of granite in the floor of the main entrance hall. They come from every state and territory, so you can walk the line and say you’ve been across Australia #InCanberra pic.twitter.com/1tZrRnwg9Y— Portrait Gallery (@PortraitAu) July 11, 2019
Australian Parliament House’s grand scale and hidden design features
Head up the hill to Australian Parliament House. Built in 1988 it is full of contemporary and classical features. Keep an eye out for ancient fossils in the Marble Foyer, which features marble that is 435 million years old. Raise your focus to the flag above this iconic building and you’ll be amazed by its grandeur. Would you believe it’s the size of two double decker buses?
The architectural features extend to functional purposes as well. The Members’ Hall is home to the Reflective Pool, which adds ambience to the area but also acts as a sound barrier, muffling the voices of those wanting to have secret conversations.
Shhh … don’t tell anyone but if you want to have a private chat in @Aust_Parliament, go to the Reflective Pool in Members' Hall. The sound of trickling water is designed to dampen the plans of eavesdroppers. #InCanberra#visitcanberra#gowiththeflow pic.twitter.com/sl1elYenu7— Australian Parliament House (@Aust_Parliament) July 3, 2019
Remember to look up at the Australian War Memorial
Head to the Hall of Memory, nestled in the heart of the Australian War Memorial. Look up to the captivating Byzantine dome and discover the story hidden within this symbolic work.
The moving nature of this dome artwork is increased by the fact that it can only be reached by walking past the names of the more than 102,000 who have given their lives in the service of this country.
The walls and ceiling of the Hall of Memory are lined with a mosaic assembled here in Canberra. The Hall is set above the Pool of Reflection, and is the heart of the Australian War Memorial. For more: https://t.co/KradDF6e32 #InCanberra #VisitCanberra pic.twitter.com/rw6AqPqKe8— Aust War Memorial (@AWMemorial) July 18, 2019
The National Gallery of Australia is an artwork itself
Sure, the artworks are stunning, but look beyond the masterpieces to the walls themselves. The National Gallery of Australia has countless architectural patterns that present themselves when you least expect it.
We've got a pretty amazing architectural photo-opp on Level 2, on your way to our Orde Poynton Gallery ... see if you can find it! #nationalgalleryaus #visitcanberra #incanberra pic.twitter.com/jHXPzL6M04— NationalGalleryAus (@NatGalleryAus) July 1, 2019
Uncover these design features that are hidden in plain sight on guided tours of the attractions. The knowledgeable guides know every corner of their buildings, providing insight into the architecture of the attraction as well as the collections within. Tours run regularly at the National Museum of Australia, the National Library of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Australian War Memorial and Australian Parliament House. The best bit? They’re all free to attend.