Italian architect Romaldo Giurgola, who won a competition and received an opportunity to design the new Federal Australian Parliament House in Canberra, has died on Monday at the age of 95.
Giurgola was commonly called “Aldo.” He was born in 1920 in Italy and studied architecture there. After the completion of his studies in Italy, he migrated to the United States to become a member of the Philadelphia School of Architecture. He began one of the leading architectural firms in the world, Mitchell/Giurgola Architects after finishing his studies at the University of Rome and Columbia in the US.
According to Yahoo News, the architect’s design was selected as the best among 329 designs submitted by designers all across the globe. In 1980, the federal government invited Aldo to build the iconic parliament house of Canberra. The building was inaugurated in May 1988 by Queen Elizabeth.
Before winning the competition, the architect was offered to assist in judging the winning design suitable for Australia’s new Parliament House in 1979, but he refused the offer. Instead, he preferred to submit his design in the international competition in 1980, where his design won.
Aside from Canberra’s ideal new Parliament House, Giurgola also constructed two churches – St. Thomas Aquinas in the Charnwood suburb in Canberra and St. Patricks Cathedral in Parramatta.
Architect Anne Cleary remembered her first working experience with the architect when she was a 19-year-old student of architecture. She said she knew him for more than 35 years and called him a man of humility and perspective. “Aldo was very gentle, very kind, very generous,” she told ABC Canberra.”He spoke to us of the classic nature of architecture and the enduring qualities that we should all be striving for.”
Giurgola also worked with architect Hans Guida, who helped him with the Australian Parliament project. “Aldo would do drawings and he was always the first to draw a human figure in the drawing to remind us, not only to measure the scale of the space … but to remind us why we were there,” she said.
Aldo has been the recipient of the Gold Medal of the American Society of Architects in 1982. He also received the Gold Medal of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects in 1988.