BXL Design Architects  recently took part in  The Lodge by the Lake design competition that formed part of the Centenary of Canberra  2013 celebrations.

Organised by The University of Canberra and the Gallery of Australian Design, the competition invited architects to provide design ideas for a possible new official residence for the Prime Minister of Australia located  on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra.

According to the organisers, the  aim of the competition was to show the creativity and depth of talent of Australia’s architects  and to showcase Canberra as a symbol of the country’s identity as a democratic nation. 
The team from  BXL Design Architects  included three architects, a landscape architect, a graphic designer and an architectural draftsperson. “We didn’t learn of this design competition until there were only a few weeks left before the deadline,” BXL Design’s director Bryn Lummus explains. “However, we were captivated  by the project and decided to still take part and put in the hours.” 

“The Lodge by the Lake design brief called for the provision of a comfortable and secure residential environment for the Prime Minister and his or her family,” Bryn Lummus says, “as well as a functions’ venue for state occasions,  important meetings  and  for special events for visiting dignitaries and the Australian community.”
The design brief also included some unique functional elements.  “We were required to incorporate a defensible family refuge, a study/home office for the Prime Minister with an adjoining personal safe room and  extensive additional spaces that included  a wine cellar, a refrigerated flower room and cutlery and crockery stores,”  Bryn Lummus explains.  In  the Lodge by the Lake’s grounds,  the design brief called for  a kitchen garden, a tennis court as well as a boathouse and jetty among other features.

Text Box: a.“We drew our inspiration from a 1996  essay by Debora Bird Rose entitled  ‘Nourishing Terrains’, “ Bryn Lummus explains. “From this  we learned that the traditional landowners see Australia as a series of interdependent ‘countries’ that fuse to create a living entity - the whole. These countries are Land Country, Sky Country and Water Country,” Bryn Lummus says. “Within this, our proposal provides a recurring awareness of land, sky and water through the incorporation of water elements, ceiling features and areas that represent and exalt the land such as  sculpture terraces and a lookout tower in the grounds of The Lodge.”
“Our competition entry proposed  a conceptual framework from which the ongoing story of Australia can be told: presenting its people, philosophy, history, place and aspirations using the built form, including its relationship to the natural setting and context,” explains Bryn Lummus.

“Ultimately,” Bryn Lummus explains, “it was important to us to convey modern-day Australia’s warm, positive spirit and we succeeded in expressing this through the informality and relaxed nature of the buildings that reflect an open and confident society.”

The competition attracted 238 entries  and was judged by a panel of experts chaired by Professor Lyndon Anderson, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Design at the University of Canberra.