Churchill House is a good example of the Late Twentieth Century Brutalist style

Churchill House, at 218 Northbourne Avenue in Braddon, was designed by Robin Boyd for the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust of Australia in 1969-70, and construction was completed in 1971. It was Boyd’s last major commission, and he died prior to its completion. It is one of a small number of larger designs produced by Boyd and was Canberra’s first brutalist building.

Perspective drawing of Churchill House design.
A perspective view of Churchill house drawn by Robin Boyd.


Churchill House was built by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust of Australia. The Trust began consideration of erecting a building of its own in 1967 and formed a building committee in 1968. In 1969 it acquired a lease for land on Northbourne Avenue, the current site, and engaged the architect Robin Boyd to design the building.

Original NCDC plans for Northbourne Avenue
The original National Capital Development Commission Plans for Northbourne Avenue, showing the location of Churchill House.

The building was to provide offices for the Trust and in addition was to provide rental office accommodation for commercial tenants as a means of generating income for the Trust. Features of the original design included:

Image showing Draft plans for potential commerical income from Churchill House rents
Draft plans for potential commerical income from Churchill House rents.

Boyd died in 1971 before completion, and W K Williams was engaged by the Trust as its site representative to replace Boyd.

The cost of the works was about $1 million. The building was officially opened on 14 April 1972.

Image showing a plarque from the opening ceremony of churchill house
Plarque from the opening ceremony of Churchill House. Photo courtesy Ben Ennis Butler.

Other Buildings of Note

Churchill House is one of a number of Canberra buildings designed in the Late Twentieth Century Brutalist style. These include:

Cameron Offices
The Cameron Offices in Belconnen, Canberra. Image CC Wikimedia.

Churchill House is an early example in this context, and one of only two examples of an office building. While Brutalism has been described as an ethic rather than an aesthetic (Banham 1966:10), both office buildings display a more restrained form compared to the other buildings, several of which were intended to portray a distinctive image in the national capital.