The Apostolic Nunciature at 2 Vancouver Street, Red Hill was designed by Enrico Taglietti in 1977. The Apostolic Nunciature is the headquarters of the Pope’s representative in Australia and is a large building located in the residential area of Red Hill.
The building is an excellent example of Taglietti’s unique sculptural, organic style of architecture and was awarded the RAIA Certificate of Merit in 1978 and 1980.
While Taglietti’s earlier buildings were characterised by deep, spreading roof overhangs with banded fascias, the Apostolic Nunciature achieves a pronounced horizontality courtesy of of massed, red-tile roofs which appear to float over the building form. This horizontal emphasis is punctuated by a cantilevered porte-cochere with a large cross displayed on the building. The spreading, massed roofs produce an effect similar to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie Houses.
Taglietti comments on his design brief for the Apostolic Nunciature:
In designing this building I was confronted with requirements which were not stated in the brief but nevertheless paramount in the mind of the client’s representatives. Questions arose such as…Was the required dining room a dining room or the apostles’ table? Was the reception room a pastoral room of assembly? Were the studies and bedrooms places of meditation? Was the presence of the building a shelter or a reminder? Only to a few elements of the composition a clear methodology could be applied—the chapel, the convent and the offices, for the rest I had only a guide. I designed a Roof and a Chapel, large enough to shelter the inhabitants and visible enough to give to all the message of universal embraces and ‘Non Datur Actio in Distans’— Enrico Taglietti
A feature of Taglietti’s work is the integration of building and site by the use of hard landscape elements such as retaining walls and fences. By using the same materials as the building, it has the effect of extending the composition of the building beyond its own boundaries.
Sources and further reading
- K Charlton, B Jones and P Favaro, The Contribution of Enrico Taglietti to Canberra’s Architecture, RAIA, 2007
- Andrew Metcalf, Canberra Architecture, Watermark Press, 2003
- Jennifer Taylor, Australian Architecture Since 1960, 2nd Edition, Canberra, 1990
- Short biography of Enrico Taglietti
- The late twentieth century organic style of architecture