The Shrine of Remembrance Courtyards

Photo © John Gollings
© Rush Wright Associates
Photo © Peter Bennetts
Photo © John Gollings
Photo © Michael Wright
Photo © John Gollings
Photo © John Gollings
Photo © Michael Wright
Photo © John Gollings
Photo © Michael Wright
Photo © Peter Bennetts
Photo © Rush Wright Associates
Landscape Architects
Rush\Wright Associates
St Kilda Road , 3000 Melbourne
Shrine of Remembrance Trustees
Architect collaboration
ARM Architecture
Landscape Construction
Australian Native Landscape Constructions
Ashton Raggatt McDougall

The Shrine is Victoria's most significant community memorial. Funded originally by donation, the building and its grounds terminate the main civic axis of Melbourne. The Shrine has had two significant stages of alterations and additions since it was first constructed to the original Hudson & Wardrop design in 1934. These are the WW2 forecourt, opened in 1954 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth on her first visit here, and the new Visitor Centre (2003) and Galleries of Remembrance (2014), with the four courtyards designed by Rush\Wright Associates (RWA) and Ashton Raggatt McDougall, Architects (ARM).

The courtyards are central to the parti of the new project at the Shrine, and are landscape schemas par excellence. Each has a different function, and design character, with a particular narrative and design aesthetic. The courtyards form a compliant, ramped visitor entry, a schools entry and orientation space, staff break out, and spaces for wreath placement, contemplation and the positioning votive poppies.

The courtyards are designed to be evocative - and provocative - creating moods and triggering emotional responses. The designs variously explore loss, emptiness, memory, intrigue, technology, ruins, fortifications, camouflage, blood spatter, military craft and the power of symbolic planting design. The courtyard are not memorials per se, but carefully calibrated experiences forming a critical part of an engaging visit for tourists, school groups and many service men and women.

The completion of the four courtyards completes a phase of work which has included continuous involvement by Rush\Wright Associates since 2000, comprehending the Reserve Masterplan (2000-2004), Gallipoli Memorial (2006), Fromelles Memorial (2008), Five Year Tree Plan (2009-2015) and Birdwood Avenue improvements (2014). The practice remains involved in the careful management of the two planted courtyards, in particular tending to the very fast changing and richly planted Terrace courtyard on the south west, dedicated to evocation of the Pacific and South East Asian theatres of service, sacrifice and peacekeeping.

The project resulted from a very effective collaboration between architect and landscape architect, with complementary and not readily distinguishable roles. The ARM parti of the faceted, below grade ramped entry courtyards set the scene, but the contents and design themes are mutually attributed in varying degrees.

Here, on Melbourne's ideas axis, we are all on show. Design here is an act of Service. The results speak for themselves. Since 2003, when Rush\Wright Associates and ARM, visitation to the Shrine has almost trebled to exceed one million visitors per year. The project has won numerous architectural awards, including twice winning the prestigious Victorian Architecture Medal.

2016 AILA Victorian Award of Excellence Cultural Heritage
2005 CCAA Public Domain Award – Walls (Winner)
2004 RAIA The Victoria Architecture Medal
2004 John George Knight Heritage Architecture Award
2004 William Wardell Award – Institutional
2004 The Melbourne Prize
2004 National – The Walter Burley Griffin Award for Urban Design
2004 MBAV The Age Excellence in Construction of Commercial Buildings
2004 Celebrating Melbourne Award, Urban Design
2003 AILA Merit – (Design) Buildings & Infrastructure

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Other Projects by Rush\Wright Associates

St Columba’s College Central Campus Redevelopment
Carrum Station and Foreshore Precinct
Brunswick Street Streetscape Masterplan
Earth Sciences Garden Monash University
LaTrobe Institute for Molecular Science, LaTrobe University