We will remember them - revitalising a War Memorial

Reopened just in time for Anzac Day, a war memorial in Auckland’s Mount Roskill originally commissioned under legendary mayor Keith Hay has been given a makeover following considerable community efforts and design competition. The award-winning design concept by three Auckland University Students includes angular berms, custom paving and cast concrete solutions.

The 1950’s War Memorial Cenotaph and parade ground in Mount Roskill was redesigned after the local board was pressured by the local historical society. Four objectives were identified and created a competition brief for university students of architecture and landscape architecture, with Senior Lecturer Bill McKay the head of five judges.

The winning concept from Thomas Huang, Pete Wang and Tina Xie of Auckland University’s school of Architecture and Planning, Liz Oldfield of Auckland Council managed the design detail, the work was completed by John Fillmore Contractors (JFC) with custom paving and cutting edge concrete solutions produced by Auckland’s Jagas Paving. The win by these young immigrants being quite fitting, as the Mount Roskill area is known for its multicultural community.

Unveiled on April 21, the parade area around the cenotaph is now smartly framed by angular berms, which are retained by custom-formed concrete which Jagas set “We will remember them” into. The berms on the south and Eastside form a V and slope in towards the monument. Custom made pavers of contrasting sizes, textures and shades flow down the steps and away from the cenotaph, forming a cross that is situated South to North and East-West, cleverly drawing attention to the monument and increasing appeal to area as a place for people of all backgrounds to relax and reflect.

To complement the Coromandel Granite used on the cenotaph, Jagas designed and produced the precast nib wall coloured with Peter Fell oxide pigment. The berms required 27 cast concrete sections of varying angles and tapers to achieve the oblique result, which borders the enlarged parade ground. The Parade ground’s angles create a visual link to the roofline of the nearby War Memorial hall

The parade ground can now cope with the several hundred people expected on Anzac day and also includes attractive seating which offer a contemplative place to rest. Either side of the flag pole, at the north end of the parade ground is a roll of honour including 33 names of local residents who fought in World War One.

Tony Munro of JFC credits Jagas technical knowledge as being vital to the result. “The specific dimensions and profile of this kind of project meant that the technical knowledge from Jagas was invaluable, their design experience sped up delivery, while their team worked through Christmas to ensure deadlines were met in time for Anzac Day.”

“Projects like this drive you to deliver your absolute best. We’re especially proud that we were able to deliver with local product and expertise and we’re certain the result will stand the test of time, aesthetically and functionally.” says Warwick Smith, General Manager of Jagas.

“To ensure durability, the concrete was reinforced against geological movement using seismic fibre and the concrete mixes actually contain additives which are used to strengthen dykes in Holland, the additive will continually grow and fill porous areas and minor cracks.”

The cenotaph and nearby War Memorial Hall were originally completed in the 1950’s, and were the work of architect Stephen G Wright at the time when Keith Hay was mayor of the borough, the mayor contributing his own money to the original project’s completion.