Top Australian architects have refused to work on the redevelopment of the Australian War Memorial over plans to demolish Anzac Hall.
Distinguished Australian architects including Alec Tzannes, Peter Stutchbury, Ken Maher, Brit Andersen, Peter Elliott and Kerry and Lindsay Clare signed an open letter denouncing the decision to demolish Anzac Hall, as well as the tight restrictions put on architects submitting designs for the redevelopment.
“As the design is tied to the demolition of Anzac Hall and the installation of the glass atrium, there is limited scope for innovative and creative design,” reads the letter.
“We have seen no evidence that the demolition is needed.”
The above-mentioned letter follows a previous letter signed by other esteemed Australians such as author Tom Keneally and former human rights commissioner Gillian Triggs, which criticised the projected $498 million cost of the redevelopment.
While there are concerns that there will be few architects willing to work on the project, a spokesperson for the war memorial has defended the strict design restrictions put in place, stating that there have been a good number of high-quality submissions in a comment to The Canberra Times.
The spokesperson also stated that the replacement of Anzac Hall gives the best value for money, while also maximising exhibition space and protecting the integrity of the original heritage building.
"At only 17 years of age, Anzac Hall is considered young in building terms, where average lifecycles are 50 to 100 years," says Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) national president Clare Cousins.
"Bringing in the bulldozer to destroy such as investment - of effort, of culture and at the end of the day taxpayer dollars - is a colossal waste and mark of disrespect."