Campbell Section 5 occupies a pivotal site in Canberra at the junction of two major Griffin axes – Constitution Avenue and ANZAC Parade, between Capital Hill and Mount Ainslie, and Civic and Russell. Few sites, by location, have this opportunity to reinforce the pre-eminent Griffin Legacy.
The six-hectare Section 5 block sat unbuilt, a ‘terrain vague’ in the south-west corner of the post war suburb of Campbell. In 2011 the then ACT Land Development Agency instigated an urban project, allied with a community consultation programme, to develop this major site.
The urban project knits this residual area into both the formal landscape of Anzac Parade, calibrated with its memorials, and Campbell’s existing 1970’s street layout to create a cohesive new precinct that links these distinct neighbourhoods. The southern boundary is formed by Constitution Avenue, and the works were coordinated to extend the improvements to the avenue at that time being undertaken by the NCA (Hill Thalis and JILA were involved in both projects).
The master plan makes a contemporary urban project attuned to the Griffin Legacy works, including 5 new streets, 5 urban blocks, landscaped squares and a major new park, designed and fully documented by Hill Thalis and Jane Irwin Landscape Architecture, with Cardno.
The public domain is characterized by its generosity. Broad new east west streets are aligned to Anzac Parade’s memorial sites, that will maintain the aspect to Mt Pleasant and so a green and blue backdrop to the places of national commemoration. These streets are broad, with three avenues of trees, in effect akin to linear landscaped squares. The north south streets align with the Campbell grid, also leaving open the vistas toward the lake. An edge street frames the Hassett Park frontage.
Hassett Park, over 3 hectares in area, is the centerpiece of the scheme, the social element that joins the new community to the existing suburb of Campbell. The detailed design and documentation was by JILA, in collaboration with specific elements designed and documented by Hill Thalis, including the fine pedestrian / cycle bridge and two paved squares. The park has a generous central green, and a smaller quiet space on Anzac Park East. Both areas retain the existing perimeter landscape, augmented by new plantings and distributed play structures. Water is explicitly celebrated in the curving swale, which captures and treats a vast catchment from the slopes of Mount Ainslie – directly improving inflows to Lake Burley Griffin.
The master plan’s detailed built form controls calibrate the scale of development and frame the relationship to the public domain. Taller building forms are concentrated to Constitution Avenue, with a smaller scale closer to the existing houses in Campbell.
The 5 new urban blocks were individually sold to optimise financial returns to the ACT Government. The new park was opened to the public in April 2016, with the streets and remaining public domain coming online with the construction of the new mixed-use apartment buildings.