Commonwealth Place comprises a grassed-cupped square of approximately 100 metres by 50 metres on the southern shore of Lake Burley Griffin in the Parliamentary Zone. It is a multi-use public space equally suitable for major events and family gatherings.
Centred on Griffin’s Land Axis, the design incorporates a walkway, linking Commonwealth Place to Reconciliation Place. The rear wall of the cupped square and the walls of the walkway are clad in Australian sandstone. The walkway is paved with Australian bluestone. The under croft spaces formed by the cupped square provide accommodation for the café/restaurant and office spaces.
A paved area, Speakers Square, a Centenary of Federation gift from the Canadian Government, provides a focal space for celebrations and ceremonies. A grove of trees, planted in the form of the Southern Cross provides shade on the western side of the square.
Commonwealth Place was designed by Durbach Block Architects, in association with Sue Barnsley Design. It was awarded the Australian Capital Territory Chapter of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects Urban Award in 2003.
Commonwealth Place Forecourt
Commonwealth Place was completed in 2002. The initial works included new pavement up to the Parkes Place roadway but did not modify the area between the building and the edge of Lake Burley Griffin.
Centred on Griffin’s Land Axis, Commonwealth Place Forecourt enhances visitor use of the site by introducing a shared pedestrian zone and two jetties.
Commonwealth Place Forecourt increases the opportunity for recreational use of the lake, allowing small craft such as rowing sculls, yachts and dinghies to land easily from any direction. The jetties are constructed from recycled timber and recycled plastic was also used in construction.
The International Flag Display
The International Flag Display in Canberra's Parliamentary Zone colourfully acknowledges the international presence in Australia's national capital.
The current 96 flags are dedicated to the United Nations and those nations that maintain a diplomatic presence in the national capital.
The flags fly from two offset rows of flagpoles along the promenade between the High Court and the National Library on the southern shore of Lake Burley Griffin. The flags are flown continuously, 24 hours a day and lit at night, casting a vivid reflection on the Lake. Each flag pole has a plaque at its base identifying the nation whose flag is flying from that pole.
The display is arguably the largest in the world and very popular with visitors and locals alike. Many people take the opportunity to be photographed next to the flag of their country and or take a leisurely stroll amongst the poles.
The Display was launched by the Governor-General, the Hon Sir William Deane, on Australia Day 26 January 1999.