Townscape is concerned with the design and arrangement of buildings and spaces to achieve harmony, interest, attractiveness, vitality and convenience. Townscape conditions for Civic are therefore designed to ensure that the quality of the design of buildings and spaces will result in a centre of charm, distinctive and vibrant activity, consistent with its important role as a major centre of the National Capital, and one that people will enjoy visiting and using. While Civic is part of the Central National Area, it is also the commercial centre of Canberra and should express its commercial character.

General Conditions

Building and Development

  1. The quality sought for any building shall be achieved mainly by negotiation, carried out within the framework of the conditions contained herein and the particular conditions prepared for the site.
  2. Plot ratio will not be used as a means of controlling development intensity, except in Turner and Braddon as specified in Development Control Plans and Detailed Conditions of Planning and Development.
  3. New buildings shall, where appropriate, respect the design and character of adjacent buildings except that in the main commercial areas, standards suitable to a commercial area will also be considered.
  4. Buildings in Civic shall show an appropriate quality of architectural design consistent with their location. Major changes to individual buildings within comprehensively developed complexes should be considered in terms of their effects on the comprehensive design for a whole section.

Streetscape Design

  1. Attractive and lively streetscapes shall be sought by:
    1. requiring all developments in the main retail and commercial areas to abut the front property boundaries of their sites
    2. requiring all new buildings and redevelopments abutting Garema Place, City Walk, Petrie Plaza, Ainslie Avenue (between London Circuit and City Walk) the Bus Interchange and other areas as defined in the Precinct Policies, to contain retail uses and shop fronts or other acceptable activity and display windows at street level.
    3. requiring all development and building in the main retail and commercial areas to provide sheltered pedestrian areas along the face of the buildings preferably in the form of colonnades. Permanent awnings would be acceptable in redevelopment projects where they are an established feature of the area
    4. ensuring that the minimum height of any facade abutting a street or pedestrian system is not less than 2 storeys
    5. allowing buildings on sites outside the main retail and commercial areas to be set back from the property boundary if an appropriate landscaping and paving foreground is provided. Car parking in front of the building will not generally be accepted in Civic.
  2. Forecourts or plazas in front of buildings shall generally not be supported, unless the proponent can demonstrate that the plaza will not create adverse wind conditions, and the plaza creates a bonus for the public realm (rather than a better setting for the individual building).

Building Height

  1. Building height policies shall apply in the City District as follows:
    1. buildings higher than 7 storeys shall not abut major pedestrian thoroughfares and shall be considered only when part of an approved comprehensive design for a whole section
    2. on sites adjacent to the main pedestrian areas and other public spaces buildings shall be limited in height to ensure firstly that main pedestrian areas remain substantially sunlit, particularly in the hours between 12 noon and 2 pm in mid-winter, and secondly that an attractive environment is maintained in these areas
    3. outside of the main pedestrian areas where blocks have frontages of 30 metres or less, a maximum height of 7 storeys shall apply
    4. no buildings taller than RL 617 m shall be permitted in Civic
    5. as a general rule, high buildings should be set back from the property line and sit on a podium (eg. the CAGA Centre) in order to lessen turbulence at footpath level.
    6. where tall buildings are proposed they shall be sited and designed to ensure that down draught conditions and turbulence do not make pedestrian spaces uncomfortable.
    7. the developer shall be required to carry out wind testing to the satisfaction of the relevant planning authority prior to development approval being considered for all buildings over 7 storeys and may be required to carry out such testing for lower buildings.
    8. service elements of buildings and other rooftop structures should be set back from the building edges and screened from street level view.

Colour of Materials

  1. Buildings in Civic shall be of permanent construction and generally white to light buff/grey in colour. The use of colour or materials in external facades shall be considered in accordance with the provisions of the Urban Design Conditions. In addition, the use of colour or materials in external facades other than in the white to grey colour range shall be considered where, in the National Capital Planning Authority's view:
    1. the coloured elements relate to clearly defined structural or functional units of the building
    2. the coloured elements are subsidiary to the main white to light buff/grey materials
    3. the colours selected are predominantly 'earth' tones such as grey, grey-greens, light browns
    4. metal cladding, which has the capacity for any colour to be baked or painted on to it, is preferred. While colours which would be at odds with the overall intentions of unity and harmony are not favoured, consideration will be given to the use of bright or contrasting colour for accent or relief in a metal facade
    5. modelling of facades using metal cladding is employed to prevent unrelieved smooth and reflective facades of metal and glass.