competition entry in collaboration with CJ Koay

When does a memorial become less about remembrance and more about education to future generations? 

The pair of masonry clad war memorials frames the Canberra ‘Land Axis’ vista to Parliament House and the Australian War Memorial, giving a strong termination to Anzac Parade. The design focuses on the emotional experiences and stories of those who had served and perished in the Wars. It conjures up iconic elements of early 20th Century warfare such as bunkers, battleships, POW guard towers and trenches amongst others.

Visitors pass between the interiors’ heavy walls descending into the earth. The journey is confronting and affords a strong sense of entrapment with he sky is the only relief to the experience. The passage ends at the ‘crypt’ with a pool of water over which hovers the ever-present tower.  While the hollow interior of this tower is inscribed with the names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the World Wars, this as a collective entity can only be seen reflected in the water. Looking back up the passage though the narrow opening, the axially framed view of the Australian flag on top of Parliament House is in sight, symbolising the yearning of soldiers for the return to Australian soil.

Inscribed inside the walls are stories from veterans which can be viewed though slots cut in the walls. Audio stories of individuals can be heard by activating the wall mounted buttons. In this way the journey through the memorial is one of sharing stories and engaging with personal experiences which will be lost to future generations as time goes by.

world war 1 + 2 memorials