Southern Cross Sanctuary
A focal point of faith for all Australia, the Southern Cross Sanctuary completes Canberra’s conceptual masterplan, almost a century after it was conceived. Rising from Rottenbury Hill, it resurrects the glory of ecclesiastical architecture as an elegant symbol of a nation's beliefs. Beneath a cross, set some 149m above the gardens, it successfully stacks an incredible density of activities within its shimmering shell. A basement complex of museums, schools and galleries supports a 5000-seat Hall of Meeting, surmounted by a spiralling gallery recounting Australia’s Christian heritage over 1.5km. Ringing its reflection pool are the sweeping patterns of the Songlines Gardens, whose lawns extend the Sanctuary’s capacity for congregation; it’s pathways, pavilions and pergolas adding further places for spiritual contemplation. Crowned by an observatory offering panoramic views of the capital, this is ascendant architecture of praise and invocation filled with filtered light and soaring spaces.
A natural place of national assembly, the Southern Cross Sanctuary will be a nexus for theology and faith to sustain the Australian way of life. Combining grand meeting halls with lecture rooms, museums and galleries creates a stimulating mix of people and ideas, generating an atmosphere of reasoned research and debate. The moving Hall of Voices shall record the thoughts and emotions of real Australians, relaying them through digital media as a moving narrative on the nation’s state of mind. The public ceremonial spaces will be the finest on the continent, with ambulatories, observatories and auditoriums all lined with Australia’s superlative native stones and timbers. This enduring art and craftsmanship will wear with dignity, as place of pilgrimage for centuries to come.