- National Capital Plannning Authority and Australian War Memorial
- Canberra, ACT
- Peter Tonkin, Keiran McInerney, Brian Zulaikha. Artist: Janet Laurence. Photos by John Gollings
- 1993 First Prize and Commission
The Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier, at the symbolic centre of the Hall of Memory in the Australian War Memorial, was designed in collaboration with artist Janet Laurence. The design is the focus of the War Memorial and was won through a limited competition. It addresses the relationship between war and society and the contemporary relevance of the commemoration of war. It represents a major commitment by the War Memorial to continuing the nationâ€™s recognition of its service men and women.
The design responds to the symbolically powerful Napier Waller mosaics and figurative windows that line the domed Hall. The Tomb itself takes the form of an excavated tumulus, in red Rosso Daniel marble. The gilded inscription was hand-drawn and carved.
Four 11 metre tall freestanding pillars are placed in the adjoining niche, each symmetrical with the mosaic-clad mullions of the three major stained glass windows. These pillars represent, in material form, the four Platonic elements â€“ glass for water, stone for earth, nickel silver for fire and jarrah timber for air. Their pure abstract presence enriches the representational complexity of the mosaic and stained glass, and the careful selection of materials, including pure white hand-cast glass, confirms the dominant red-gold colour of the original mosaics.
On 11 November 1993, the 75th anniversary of the Armistice, the Tomb was the focus of a full state funeral of the Unknown Soldier, exhumed from a World War 1 grave at Villiers Bretonneux in France.