2015 National Architecture Awards: Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Architecture

Shrine of Remembrance, Galleries of Remembrance by ARM Architecture Public Architecture: Sir Zelman Cowen Award Australian Institute of Architects

Jury citation

The Galleries of Remembrance at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance, completed in time to commemorate the centenary of the 1915 Gallipoli campaign, represent the fitting culmination of a masterplan that was established fifteen years ago. This outstanding final stage reinstates the symmetry of the four quadrants of the Shrine’s original 1927 layout. Cutting courtyards into the historic grassed mound is a masterstroke that resolves the programmatic challenges of turning a landmark monument into a major museum and gallery building while keeping intact the original urban design concept.

The new entry courtyards create equal feelings of awe and pleasure in an appropriate and comfortable balance. These dramatic spaces are highly effective sensory thresholds between the city and the subterranean education and gallery spaces. The dedicated schoolchildren’s entry court is especially poignant, with its giant abstracted poppy canopy and the custom that has developed serendipitously of children leaving paper poppies in the walls as they leave. What is remarkable about these latest additions is that they enhance the appreciation of the existing monument while confidently creating a new and intriguing visitor experience. The entire undercroft of the Shrine and its supporting brick piers are exposed to the public for the first time and complemented by a permanent exhibition that is extraordinarily moving in its content. The inclusion of one of the original Gallipoli boats in the exhibition meant complex scheduling in the building’s construction and also the need for a hidden grass-clad door in the Shrine’s mound for ongoing and future servicing and delivery. Also contained beneath the mound are new administrative offices decorated with artworks drawn from original wartime sketches and military memorabilia and a boldly confronting all-blood-red lecture theatre that features plywood Japanese origami paper cranes as the surrounding wall surfaces. All of the new works are unashamedly of their time while matching the material quality, robustness and detail finesse of their heritage host. The design response is reflective of a fiercely independent nation, even though the memorial references global events. This is important in this exemplary creation of what is now undoubtedly a nationally significant cultural destination.

Read the project review by Conrad Hamann from Architecture Australia May/June 2015.


ARM Architecture Melbourne
Melbourne, Vic, Australia
Project Team
Ian McDougall (design director); Tony Allen (project director); Jeremy Stewart (design/project architect); Stephen Davies (project architect); Andrea Wilson (interior architect); Ross Liddell, Tim Brooks, Aaron Poupard, Michael McManus, Doug Dickson
Acoustics Marshall Day Acoustics
Building services Umow Lai
Building surveyor PLP Building Surveyors and Consultants
Contractor ProBuild
Exhibition designer Cunningham Martyn Design
Heritage consultant Lovell Chen
Landscape architect Rush\Wright Associates
Quantity surveyor Rider Levett Bucknall – Melbourne
Specialist lighting Electrolight
Structural engineer Irwinconsult
Site Details
Location Melbourne,  Vic,  Australia
Site type Urban
Project Details
Status Built
Completion date 2014
Category Public / cultural
Type Museums, Outdoor / gardens, Visitor centres



Published online: 5 Nov 2015
Words: National Architecture Awards Jury 2015
Images: John Gollings


Architecture Australia, November 2015

Related topics

More award

See all
Australian House of the Year: Cantala Avenue House by ME. Modest architecture with significant impacts: 2020 Houses Awards winners

A modest house in an “unremarkable but incredibly familiar” Gold Coast suburb has clinched the top prize in the 2020 Houses Awards.

Courtyard House for Fabprefab (NSW) by Chrofi with Fabprefab, New House Under 200 m². 2020 Houses Awards: Commendations

Twenty-two projects and two emerging practices have received commendations in the 2020 Houses Awards.

Cantala Avenue House by ME. 2020 Houses Awards: Australian House of the Year

The winning project celebrates a simple life and the capacity of modest architecture to impact significantly on the way we live.

Waratah Secondary House by Anthrosite. 2020 Houses Awards: Sustainability

The jury lauded this small, humble project, adding that it “delivers something that we need to see more of in our cities.”

Most read

Latest on site