The proposed WWI and WWII Memorials, that would stand as 20 metre towers, are a grandiose scale that if built would be detrimental to the recreational foreshore parklands, and impede the Griffin vista towards Mt Ainslie. This vista creates appreciation of the natural form of the mountain, as intended by Griffin and the open nature of the Vistas in both north and south directions.
The Land Axis and clear vista are fundamental, enduring elements of the 1912 winning design for the National Capital. The memorials would break the length of the Land Axis and narrow the width of Griffin’s ‘Parkway’ (Anzac Parade). Moreover the Lake foreshore is a horizontal, flat landscape that would be upset by the pronounced vertical towers.
Griffin envisaged that the city would develop around his parkway, using the lakeside gardens as a promenade between cultural and recreational facilities. He never wanted it to be overburdened by the memory of war.
On any sunny weekend a great many people and groups, including tourists, can be seen all over the terraces enjoying picnics, games, walking, cycling and sports. The ambience is conducive to these activities. One enjoys unhindered vistas to iconic buildings, structures, mountains and the passing scene on land and water. The towers and other structures of the war memorials would create an altogether different and much less enjoyable ambience and outlook, practically monopolising the site.
The presumption of a military theme displacing recreational, cultural and other national symbolic themes and achievements is unacceptable.
The Australian War Memorial at the foot of Mt Ainslie is perhaps the most memorable Vista in Canberra because it has a human scale, engages our emotions, and engages us with the dramatic natural form of the mountain. The building at the foot of the Mountain speaks honestly and nobly.
There is a great difference between memorialising the realities of war and monumentalising them. The siting and excessive size of the proposed monuments would diminish the Land Axis, Mt Ainslie and the Australian War Memorial.
The Walter Burley Griffin Society reaffirms its opposition to these memorials at the Rond Terraces near the foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin.