Entrenched geometry

Sir John Monash Centre at Villers-Bretonneux in France

The design of the centre is governed by the geometry set out by Edwin Lutyens in the original memorial.

Terrace paths have now been laid, completing an original feature of Lutyens’ design. These paths will lead visitors from the tower to its two pavilions where they will discover the entry ramps leading down into the Sir John Monash Centre.

The trench-like experience will continue as the ramps lead into a dark and sombre foyer. The descent into darkness will be “a critical part of the experience”. The path will then lead to an immersive gallery space and visitors will exit the space via a sunken courtyard up onto a landing with a view of a landscape that was once the battlefield where the Australian general Sir John Monash famously won victory.

“There’s a kind of metaphorical movement that we’re trying to describe with the descent into darkness and then ascent into light.”

A key feature of the design is the triangular oculus which punctures the meadow-roof of the proposed building, which can be seen from the top of the tower. From inside the proposed new centre, the shape of the oculus is a function of the triangulated, coffered concrete ceiling but also, as Agius explained, “put really simply, it opens up in the direction of the tower and allows the best view of it.”

The oculus opens up to a view of the original memorial tower.

Designed by Cox Architecture, the approximately 1,000 square metre Centre will be half sunken into the ground and with a turf roof to ensure a harmonious relationship to the Memorial and landscape.

This cutting-edge multimedia centre reveals the Australian Western Front experience through a series of interactive media installations and immersive experiences.

Source: Entrenched geometry: Sir John Monash Centre

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *