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Winner of French Memorial competition announced

13 November 2016

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, at the 2016 New Zealand Architecture Awards ceremony on Friday 11 November.

The design “Le Calligramme”, entered by the team led by Auckland-based architectural firm Patterson Associates, 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 Jean blanc-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.