Wednesday, March 09, 2011

National Portrait Gallery Conference Venue

The Verdiem presentation I attended today was held at the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in Canberra. The National Portrait Gallery turned out to be a very good event event venue. This might make a good template for new and larger venues in the Parliamentary Triangle.

The building has extensive free parking underneath and a bus stop outside. The eastern wing of the building has a cafe at one end and then one large rectangular conference space with a flat floor and no columns. This can be divided into smaller rooms with movable partitions. There is a large space in the centre of the building which could be used for breaks in a conference. There is also a balcony with views of the parkland, high court and national gallery.

This could be a good model for the Australia Forum/Dialogue Centre building proposed to be adjacent to the National Library of Australia. This could be a modest looking low retangualr building, like the NPG, designed to blend in with the NLA. It could use low cost environmentally efficient building techniques, avoiding the cost and delays usual with "landmark" buildings. It could be connected underground with the NLA, with planned extensions to the Science Centre. The building could be extended in stages under the central grassed area of the parliamentary triangle, to eventually join up with the poorly utilised space under Reconciliation Place (including the Gallery of Australian Design) and the NPG, without disturbing the vista at ground level.

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