On 1 November 2018 the Australian Government approved the Australian War Memorial Redevelopment Project with funding of $498.7 million over a nine-year period commencing in 2019/20.
The EOI for architectural design services was issued on 13 February and closes on 12 March.
The EOI is divided into 6 packages, one of which is for ANZAC Hall and the Atrium. This involves the demolition of the existing Anzac Hall.
We have expressed our deep concerns over the demolition of the award winning 17 year old building. Opened in 2001 at a reported cost of $11.3 million, Anzac Hall has been lauded for its sensitivity to the heritage and cultural context of this national memorial while also providing functional design. Architects Denton Corker Marshall won the Institute’s prestigious national Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Architecture for the building in 2005. At only 17 years of age, Anzac Hall is considered young in public building terms, where average lifecycles are 50 to 100 years.
There has been little transparency in the process to date and we have seen no evidence that the demolition is needed. Nor have we seen what other options were considered.
No approvals have been given by the National Capital Authority or the Parliamentary Public Works Committee for the design or for the demolition of Anzac Hall.
There has been no referral under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to ensure that the proposed use does not have a significant impact on heritage values.
The EOI process will be followed by an architectural competition. No approach has been made to date to the Institute to endorse the competition.
Architects are passionate about preserving Australia’s heritage and honouring our national history, nowhere more so than the extraordinary service and sacrifice of the servicemen and women. That is the reason that Anzac Hall was designed with such care and sensitivity to the highest standards of design excellence, an effort recognised when it was selected above any other piece of public architecture to receive the Sir Zelman Cowen Award.
Destroying such an investment – of effort and of culture– is a waste and mark of disrespect.
It is incomprehensible that in planning what would otherwise be such a welcome extension at the War Memorial, so little regard has been shown for the cultural significance of Anzac Hall, which is a national landmark and much-loved exhibition space.
We are taking a range of actions to see Anzac Hall retained, and other options considered for the site. Join our Hands off Anzac Hall campaign here.