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Jodie Cunningham We dance together. Photo: 5 Foot Photography
Jodie Cunningham We dance together. Photo: 5 Foot Photography
Past event

Two Minutes to Midnight: Design revisited

For those in the know, Canberra is a mecca for mid-century architecture. However, many buildings need investment and contemporary reimagining. The Civic and Cultural Precinct (located around Civic Square and the Canberra Theatre) proposes a contemporary vision yet resonates with Canberra’s design history from the 1912 Griffin plan to mid-century national capital ambitions. How might Civic Square and the Civic Offices (Roy Simpson of Yuncken Freeman Architects, 1959) use adaptive re-use principles to create resilient, sustainable and adaptive places? Is it possible to remain sensitive to their design beginnings but become fit for purpose for years to come? How can the revitalisation project give life, connection and flexibility while promoting meaningful interaction between artists and communities, retailers and commercial offices, public spaces and architecture? 

Join our panel of thought leaders to explore and identify future solutions:


  • Kate Brennan, cultural planner and strategist


  • Kelvin Ho, founder of one of Australia’s finest design firms Akin Atelier
  • Annabelle Pegrum, architect and academic.

About Two Minutes to Midnight

DESIGN Canberra’s new Two Minutes to Midnight series invites designers and thought-leaders to engage in deeper conversations with the community about the spaces, places and values we need in order to survive and thrive. 2020 represents a time of rapid change in our city and nation’s history. In this time of uncertainty, is good design an unaffordable luxury or the best possible use of public money?

With artists excluded from income support, our built heritage needing investment, and suburbs transforming into places of work, study and leisure, this is an unprecedented opportunity to rebuild and reimagine a sustainable and more caring way of living.

Each event is hosted by a provocateur to encourage honest debate beyond the hyperbole. The provocateur frames the debate, the topic for discussion and identifies two high impact proposals to help build a future which is as yet unwritten.


Watch the recording of the talk below.

DESIGN Canberra acknowledges the Ngunnawal people as the traditional custodians of the ACT and surrounding areas. We honour and respect their ongoing cultural and spiritual connections to this country and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region. We aim to respect cultural heritage, customs and beliefs of all Indigenous people.