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The Design of Kingston Foreshore

HistoryThe Kingston Foreshore has an early history, dating back to the Griffin Plan which was designed by Walter Burley Griffin in 1911. This plan was the basis of Canberra's early development and still remains the most powerful design concept for the current city.

The award-winning design for the Kingston Foreshore as we know it was produced by Canberra-based architect Colin Stewart. Colin’s design was an innovative and contemporary reinterpretation of the original designs for the area. The Kingston Foreshore is therefore a nod to Canberra’s early history while also looking towards the city’s bright and vibrant future.

The development follows Griffin's original vision for the East Basin, through the re-alignment of the foreshore in order to create a recreational and functional boat harbour with a fully landscaped public foreshore and vibrant waterfront promenade. Maintaining its cultural heritage and unique history, the harbour is simply a continuation of the Kingston area, not a separate entity.

The Master Plan also applies the geometric street pattern core of Burley Griffin's design, which is one of the distinguishing features of Canberra city. Kingston Foreshore provides land uses that complement the existing metropolitan structure and hierarchy of uses in the Territory Plan and fits the inherent requirement of self-sustainability.

Project History from (1913 -1999)

When visiting Kingston Foreshore today, you can expect to experience an active location to dine with friends, watch the world go by over a coffee, or to wander through its tranquil parks. It can be hard to imagine Kingston Foreshore as Canberra's former industrial sector but from its very early beginnings, the vision for the 37 hectares of land was that it would become a hive of activity which would meet the needs of an exciting and diverse community.

Kingston Foreshore is well on its way to being the pre-eminent arts, residential and recreational precinct in Canberra, which will be characterised by widespread community use, increased community pride and an improved general amenity in the area.

From 1913 until 1994 the Kingston Foreshore site had a variety of uses, including the original Powerhouse, Fitters' Workshop, Bus and Transport Depot, Government Printing Office and other light industrial businesses and workshops. In 1963, with the completion of the Scrivener Dam, Lake Burley Griffin was filled.

The suburb of Kingston, established in 1922 was originally called "Eastlake". Part of the suburb was designed as accommodation for workers who built Canberra. In 1925 and 1926, 120 portable cottages were built for the workers at the Causeway. Today, the Causeway, located north of the Canberra railway station, survives with the original temporary wooden cottages now replaced with brick cottages.

In 1995, the ACT Government undertook a land swap with the Federal Government to acquire the site and then commenced the process of consulting with the community on its redevelopment.

A national design competition for the site was held in 1997 and attracted 79 entries from around Australia. The award-winning Master Plan embraced the area's heritage through the creation of a cultural precinct (now known as the Kingston Arts Precinct). Central to the precinct are the three heritage-listed buildings: the Powerhouse (now the Canberra Glassworks), the Former Transport Depot (now the Old Bus Depot Markets) and the Fitters' Workshop.

An Exciting Recent History (2000 - today)

After a significant effort to turn the former industrial site into land fit for development, the first commercial and residential buildings emerged. The Gateway was completed in 2004, Viridian the following year and the aptly named Waterfront site was finished in 2007.

Land sales have continued since 2009 with a variety of waterfront developments now continuing to be completed. Kingston Foreshore has become a location where people choose to live, meet, dine along the waterfront.

View all Kingston Foreshore apartments and complexes.

With the Harbour civil works completed in late 2008, the Kingston Foreshore entered one of its most intensive stages of activity. The landscaping of the island and harbour promenade was completed in 2013, and is now home to a variety of high quality restaurants and shops and sets the scene for Kingston Foreshore’s unique rhythm of modern day life.