Romaldo Giurgola AO (1920–2016), architect, was a founding partner of the firm that won the international design competition for Australia’s New Parliament House in 1980. Giurgola studied in his native Italy before moving to the USA where he held academic positions at Cornell and Columbia universities, and co-founded Mitchell/Giurgola Architects in Philadelphia. By the early 1960s his style, mixing modernist and inclusive flavours, saw him identified as a key member of the ‘Philadelphia School’. He was awarded the Gold Medal of the American Society of Architects in 1982, while work on New Parliament House was under way. In 1988 Aldo Giurgola settled in Canberra. He designed a tiny Catholic church in the suburb of Charnwood and a home for himself at Lake Bathurst, near Goulburn; both are represented in Martin’s painting. Giurgola is depicted by the pool in the Members’ Hall in the centre of Parliament House. The diagonal shaft of light echoes that in Tom Roberts’s ‘big picture’ of the opening of the First Parliament in 1901.
Commissioned by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects in 2005, in recognition of Giurgola’s life-long contribution to architecture and funded by voluntary donations from members and friends of the architectural profession.
Gift of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects 2005
Accession number: 2005.121.a-c
More about the artist and subject
Magazine article, Portrait 18
A Life in Service
Artist Mandy Martin describes the creation of her portrait of Aldo Giurgola, principal architect of Australia's Parliament House.
Permanent collection catalogue
On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.