National Emergency Services Memorial, Canberra

The Australian collective memory is embodied within Anzac Parade. The Emergency Services Memorial contributes another layer of significance to this memory.

The intention is to draw the viewer into a complex sense of shared human experience with those who serve in the emergency services. It draws on the outdoor experience of many cataclysmic events, through perhaps subliminal recollection of such commonly shared and emotive Australian moments as lines of grass fire at night, lightning flashes, the shadows of one’s body cast by strong sunlight or fire.

The slithers and shards of red material embedded into the slope of the hill, the strong shadows cast by sun and fire, the drawing of the eye across the wider landscape, are all experiences felt by the service workers at moments during and after a crisis.

Ultimately, however, the direction into and onto the ‘Blanket’ brings the visitor to experience the sense of safety provided by the emergency services, in the enclosure of the memorial space itself.

National Emergency Service Personnel Steering Committee & National Capital Authority
Wining national competition entry, design documentation & construction advice
Canberra, ACT, Australia
ASPECT Studios, Charles Anderson, DCG Design,
SA Precast and Martin Butcher Lighting Design
$1 million


2005 CCAA Public Domain Awards
Best Overall Project and winner in the Public Art category

2004 Year of the Built Environment Exemplar

2004 AILA VIC Merit Award
Design in Landscape Architecture


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