26 September 2023

History of Dickson comes to life

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The inner north suburb of Dickson has been chosen by academics and students at the University of Canberra as the centre of a physical and digital ‘experience’ of living in the national capital.

Titled ‘Dickson Living Rooms’ and created as part of Design Canberra, the project was supported by a grant from the City Renewal Authority and seeks to expose the experiences of living in Dickson through the decades, from the 1960s right through to the 2020s.

Organisers say this will be achieved through formal and informal public events held in a temporary pavilion constructed in the old Dickson shopping precinct.

The pavilion is conceived as an abstracted and skewed 3D blueprint of an “ex-govie” house typical to Canberra’s north.

According to UC Associate Professor in Architecture, Max Maxwell the floor of the pavilion features a high-resolution architectural drawing that captures the technical and idiosyncratic domestic details of a typical inner-north home.

“As visitors move around the pavilion, the structure shifts from transparent to opaque depending on their vantage point,” Professor Maxwell said.

“The resulting visual effect serves as a metaphor for the continuous transformation of our urban environment, and the important role that housing plays in the creation of better neighbourhoods.”

The project also includes an interactive web-based cultural map of Dickson through the decades.

“For the first time, the map draws together artistic imagery developed specifically for the project that captures the domestic footprint of the day – technologies, furnishings, media and politics” Professor Maxwell said.

“The result is a compelling deep dive into the social and commercial narratives of Canberra’s inner north.”

He said Dickson could be considered the heartland of the inner north.

“It’s the largest commercial hub outside of Civic and an area of renew focus. As the area undergoes yet another historic and significant change, links to rich elements of the past could be lost,” he said.

Professor Maxwell hopes visitors will understand the cultural significance of the various spaces they interact with.

More information on the project and events can be found at this PS News link.

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