Wellington Scoop

Winning design chosen for French memorial in Pukeahu Park

french memorial

News from Embassy of France
The winner of the architectural contest for the french memorial at Wellington’s Pukeahu National War Memorial Park has been announced by the French Ambassador in New Zealand, Mrs Florence Jeanblanc-Risler.

The design “Le Calligramme”, entered by the team led by Auckland-based architectural firm Patterson Associates Ltd, comprising architect Andrew Patterson, artist Paul Baragwanath and landscape designer Suzanne Turley, was chosen from the 43 submissions received for the contest.

Ambassador Jeanblanc-Risler said “this memorial will be a piece of France in New Zealand. The monument will honour the longstanding bonds between our two countries, the shared values and aspirations that have shaped our history. It will also provide a legacy to the new memories we are creating today together.”

French Secretary of State for Veterans and Remembrance, Jean-Marc Todeschini, confirmed a five-member jury’s appraisal of the 43 submissions and the final recommendation for the “Calligramme”.

Jean-Marc Todeschini, jointly with his New Zealand counterpart, Veterans’ Affairs Minister Craig Foss, will unveil the plaque of the memorial during a ceremony on the morning of November 18, on the occasion of his official visit to New Zealand. The memorial will be constructed in 2017 and inaugurated in 2018.

The jury particularly appreciated the evocative power and simplicity of the design of this project; its material and aesthetic durability; its perfect integration with the context of the park and the landscaping proposed; the double evocation of the two countries’ shared histories and the future of their relations; the balance between the functions of amenity and contemplation; the possibility of developing the monument in the future with the addition of a programmable sound sculpture and adjustable lighting, and finally the presence of material and symbolic elements (Caen stone which will be shipped from France and used for the creation of the architectural elements, and Apollinaire’s poem Le Chant de I’Honneur respectively) from France.

The jury comprised Ambassador of France in New Zealand Florence Jeanblanc-Risler as co-chair; architect, Architecture+ firm director and 2015 New Zealand Institute of Architects gold medal winner Stuart Gardyne as co-chair; French Ministry of Defence Director of Remembrance, Heritage and Archives Myriam Achari; history professor and First World War Centenary Commission scientific committee member Yves Le Maner, and Mrs Sarah Dennis, former Ambassador of New Zealand in France and current member of the France/New Zealand Friendship Fund committee.

Images of the winning entry: http://bit.ly/calligramme
Credits : Patterson Associates Ltd

On the occasion of the centenary of World War I, and at the invitation of the New Zealand authorities, a French memorial will be built in Wellington’s Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington, and inaugurated in 2018. The memorial park was officially opened in April 2015 in the context of centenary commemorations of World War I and includes the Arras Tunnel, named in honour of the New Zealand Tunnelling Company who excavated an underground network beneath the town in the north of France during World War I. A gift from France to New Zealand, the construction of this memorial is funded by the French Ministry of Defence, with a total budget of €500,000. In accordance with the design brief from the memorial park’s designers, this monument will commemorate the friendship between France and New Zealand, of which the involvement of New Zealand troops on French soil during World War I is an illustrious example. The methodology used to develop the project emphasised a rich creative dialogue between the two countries, in order to fully represent their shared history and the depth of their relations.

In this spirit, the design brief given to architects in the architectural contest organised in New Zealand from April 25 until November 11 2016, drew on the conclusions of a French/New Zealand symposium which took place in France from December 6 to 12 2015, with the support of the French Ministry of Defence and the French First World War Centenary Programme. The symposium was tasked with identifying the major historical, aesthetic and commemorative issues to which contest entrants would need to respond. This symposium followed a series of interviews with New Zealanders including artists, historians, designers, writers and qualified individuals particularly involved in World War I commemorations.

The contest’s first phase was completed in June 2016. 43 anonymous entries were submitted by New Zealand and international teams, including entries from France, in response to the call for entries. 4 projects drawing on a creative dialogue between France and New Zealand were selected for the second phase, which closed on October 5 2016.

This contest was organised in partnership with the New Zealand Institute of Architects and in close collaboration with the New Zealand Ministry of Culture and Heritage and Wellington City Council. It benefited from the sponsorship of Rider-Levett-Bucknall, which provided quantity surveying free of charge.