When a city goes to the trouble of creating an artificial lake in its centre, they want to make the most of it, and that’s what the National Museum of Australia in Canberra has done with its scenic café extension on the shore of Lake Burley Griffin.
ARM Architects opened up the view with a sweeping geometric glass-rich extension – the pentagonal aperture comes flying out from the main building trailing its ribbed tail in a way that reminds me of the shooting star from Hanna Barbera’s animated logo of yesteryear. The architectural explanation behind the design involves technical talk of Boolean string theory which passed over my head like the aforementioned shooting star, which goes to show that no good comes of too much time watching cartoons and not enough on maths homework. This is far from a ’70s throwback though, it’s a thoroughly modern update to the museum’s facilities, with the existing footprint renovated in addition to the new build. Two terraced areas, one on the face of the extension and one to the side, are the prime spots for drinking in the view, although the custom frame and glass structure is a light-filled close second.