Client: Wellington Council / Parliamentary Services
Project Type: Government
Project Timeframe: 2014-2015
Architects: Wraight & Associaltes
Awards: Category winner, Urban Spaces, NZ Institute of Landscape Architects Awards 2017
The cenotaph is Wellington’s war memorial, honouring the New Zealand dead of the two World Wars. First unveiled on Anzac Day, 25 April 1931, the cenotaph is a Category I registered Historic Place and is today the focus of the city’s Anzac Day commemorations.
One aim of the $2.5 million upgrade was to strengthen the cenotaph’s connection with the adjacent parliament buildings. The two are now linked by a precast concrete staircase that drops down to the cenotaph from just below the Beehive. The staircase has bronze handrails and seating that offers a grandstand view of ceremonial occasions.
The concrete was installed to very tight tolerances so there was close communication with the precast suppliers and careful coordination as it was fitted in place.
Wooden bench seating has been added to the area in front of the cenotaph, which has been opened out and paved with natural stone. The pavers are inset with new artwork by stone artist Joe Sheehan. It consists of small jade disks that trace the path of the Waipiro Stream. Pedestrian traffic in the area is heavy so all work had to keep the public safe while ensuring that live utility services weren’t disrupted.
The cenotaph can now hold nearly 14,000 people, up from 12,000, and it was completed in time for the April 2015 celebrations of the Gallipoli centenary.