Parliament House Canberra is the meeting place of the Parliament of Australia, located in Canberra, the capital of Australia. The building was designed by Mitchell/Giurgola & Thorp Architects and opened on 9 May 1988 byElizabeth II, Queen of Australia. It cost more than A$1.1 billion to build.
Federal Parliament meetings were first held in Melbourne until 1927. Between 1927 and 1988, the Parliament of Australia met in the Provisional Parliament House, which is now known as “Old Parliament House”. Construction of Australia’s permanent Parliament House was delayed while its location was debated. Construction of the new building began in 1981. The principal design of the structure is based on the shape of twoboomerangs and is topped by an 81-metre (266 ft) flagpole.
Parliament House contains 4,700 rooms, and many areas are open to the public. The main foyer contains a marble staircase and leads to the Great Hall, which has a large tapestry on display. The House of Representatives chamber is decorated green, while the Senate chamber has a red colour scheme. Between the two chambers is the Members’ Hall, which has a water feature and is not open to the public. The Ministerial Wing houses the office of the prime minister and other ministers.
In 1978 the Fraser government decided to proceed with a new building on Capital Hill, and the Parliament House Construction Authority was created. A two-stage competition was announced, for which the Authority consulted the Royal Australian Institute of Architects and, together with the National Capital Development Commission, made available to competitors a brief and competition documents. The design competition drew 329 entries from 29 countries.
The competition winner was the Philadelphia-based architectural firm of Mitchell/Giurgola, with the on-site work directed by the Italian-born architect Romaldo Giurgola, with a design which involved burying most of the building under Capital Hill, and capping the edifice with an enormous spire topped by a large Australian flag. The façades, however, included deliberate imitation of some of the patterns of the Old Parliament House, so that there is a slight resemblance despite the massive difference of scale.