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Strathewan Bushfire Memorial

A splintered collage of sky and green with an underside of blackened steel establish a narrative of hope and regeneration, floating above the ashes of devastation.

  • Design Response

    This scheme consists of one main memorial surrounded by numerous scattered plaques telling the collective story of the Strathewen community.

    The main memorial has 27 pleats. Each pleat has two sides, one of mirrored steel, the other of abstracted regrowth imagery in vitreous enamel, creating a splintered collage of sky and green. The undersides are blackened steel over the gravel base, which sets up a narrative of hope, future and regeneration floating above the ashes of devastation. It draws on the surrounding amphitheater of hills, creating a gentle sense of enclosure from which to grieve, reflect and contemplate, whilst gesturing outward to the far reaches of the strathewen community.

    It’s relationship to the surrounding landscape will change over time as the natural bush returns to to its pre-bushfire state in counterpoint to the striking green color pallette of regrowth vegetation. Like the poppy fields of northern france, it becomes the emblematic foliage on the resting places of those lost.

    The surrounding sprinkling of plaques contains a collection of individual stories in equal sized plaques, scattered in the ground surface surrounding the central memorial, much like the scattering of leaves on the forest floor. Rather than our telling the story of the community it allows the community to tell their own stories of loved ones, dreams and possessions lost, along with lessons learned and hopes for the future. This approach allows every willing community member to directly contribute to this memorial.

  • Bushfire Memorial Design Specifications

    Services Provided

    • Competition Entry

    Architect

    Workshop Architecture

    People

    Project Team: James Staughton, Tony Styant-Browne, Michael Roper
    Visualisation: Workshop Architecture

    Date completed

    2011

    Location

    Strathewen, Victoria

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