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Australia's centenary dome

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AAS-Media releases-22.10.98 Page 1 of 2

Australian Academy of Science - About the Academy Media releases

Australia's Centenary Dome (22 October 1998) i l f e *

The President of the Australian Academy of Science, Professor Brian Anderson, today welcomed the Federal Government's decision to support the refurbishment of the Academy's Becker House - the Dome building - from the Centenary of Federation Fund.

'The grant of $525 000 will cover a list of works that are urgently needed to make the building more useful to the community and a better national symbol.

From the time construction began in 1958, the Dome symbolised the more imaginative and technically innovative side of post-World War II Australia. Its architect was Sir Roy Grounds, one of Australia's greatest architects, and its construction involved developing new knowledge about the behaviour of reinforced concrete.

Work began on the Dome under the leadership of Sir Mark Oliphant, the Academy's first President. Graham Jahn, in an article assessing the most significant extant public buildings, wrote (Australian Financial Review Magazine , May 1995, p. 37):

For many years, the very symbol o f Canberra...was the Australian Academy o f Science by Melbourne architect Roy Grounds. It was designed in the same year as Utzon's Opera House, and shares a similar organicism, blending roof into wall. Partly futuristic and partly timeless in its paradoxical modern medievalism, this

building-in-the-round became a public symbol and was to be found on first-day covers and plastic fridge magnets.

This Centenary of Federation project will begin with a "conservation assessment" to document what is needed to maintain the building's fabric. Subject to that assessment, work will proceed on tasks including installation of air-conditioning, conservation treatment of the unusual roof,

improvements to the landscaping, updating the lecture theatre's audio-visual systems, and the up-grading of the fire-warning system.

With the completion of work, the Dome and its landscaped precinct will be a national facility ready for the next century.

It will be a building all Australia can be proud of.

It will play a prominent part in activities for the Centenary year.

I am grateful to our supporters and friends, particularly Senator Margaret Reid of the ACT and ACT Chief Minister Kate Camell, who helped us persuade Senator Alston and Senator Hill of the importance of this project.' 27/10/1998

AAS-Media releases-22. IU.V8 rage - o iz


• Brian Anderson - (02) 6279 8667 (office); (02) 6295 1213 (home); 0416 249 450 (mobile)

Secretariat Contact:

• Nancy Lane - (02) 6247 5777; • Peter Vallee - (02) 6247 5777;

The story of the Dome and its construction can be found at Photos are available.

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© Australian Academy o f Science | 27/10/1998