Joint Presiding Officers Media Release: Death of Romaldo Giurgola AO

Joint media release from the President of the Senate, Senator the Hon Stephen Parry and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Hon Tony Smith MP

17 May 2016

The President of the Senate, Senator the Hon Stephen Parry, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Hon Tony Smith MP, today paid tribute to Romaldo (Aldo) Giurgola AO, architect of Australia’s Parliament House, who died peacefully in Canberra on 16 May 2016.

As senior partner of Mitchell/Giurgola & Thorp Architects, he was the principal design architect for Australia's Parliament House from its inception in 1980 until 1999.

Since its opening, Parliament House has become not only an iconic building but a place for all Australians. As Mr Giurgola himself remarked, ‘an architect gives form to a building, and people give that building their own meaning’.

“We were pleased to be able to meet Mr Giurgola when he came to Parliament House last year (on 7 October 2015) for a morning tea to celebrate his 95th birthday”, the Presiding Officers said.

“We acknowledge Mr Giurgola not only as an exceptional architect of Parliament House but one who, along with a great team of architects, helped to make the Australian Parliament House the iconic symbol of democracy that it has become.”

Mr Giurgola’s career began in Italy, continued in the USA, and culminated in Australia. He also had a distinguished academic career, including serving as head of the department of architecture at the Columbia University, New York.

Mr Giurgola was a proud Australian, making Canberra his home and becoming a citizen in 2000. In 2010 his contribution to the federal capital was commemorated by his inclusion in the Australian Capital Territory’s Honour Walk.

After his official retirement Mr Giurgola continued to work as a consultant, most notably as design architect for St Patrick's Cathedral in Parramatta, New South Wales. He has received numerous awards for his work throughout his career. Mr Giurgola was awarded the Officer of the Order of Australia, the Royal Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal, the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects, the Australian Centenary Medal and the Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Buildings.

Our thoughts and support are with his family and friends at this time.

Romaldo Giurgola 2 September 1920 (Rome) – 16 May 2016 (Canberra)

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