Memorial Wall Christchurch
The new Memorial Wall to commemorate those who were killed in the Christchurch earthquake was opened last week.
When I visited the wreaths and bouquets of flowers presented by mourners and country representatives remained displayed and drying at the foot of the Wall. Visitors, some deeply moved and hugging each other were visiting. Others were sitting across the river in the park viewing in the shade from afar. One local was explaining that the high cost of the wall, he said $11 million, was due to substantial road stabilization first. Another visiting was a local landscape architect who was disappointed his firm had not managed to complete their entry by the deadline: he was convinced their idea was better than the wall as built.
While it might be a painful opinion for those who must have worked hard to achieve the memorial, it seemed a disappointment when compared with a number of appropriate and elegant memorials I have seen overseas. The choice of font for names of those dead, grouping and choice of script of those dead were positive assets, but as an urban design and landscape feature it disappointed: the stainless steel stairways seemed long in comparison to the wall, the buildings behind the wall dominate from across the river, and the overall location beside the road is spartan and will be noisy in the future. It seemed mean and with limited local features, despite the suggested cost and work committed to it.
Competitions have produced beautiful outcomes in the past so it is mystifying why this outcome did not.