Victorian Family Violence Memorial / Muir + Openwork
Text description provided by the architects. The memorial is located next to the Parliament Precinct in East Melbourne and has an outlook to Fitzroy Gardens. The design for the memorial is framed around five elemental design moves that change the way people behave on the site rather than changing the site character itself. These elements are recognizable civic gestures that acknowledge the requirements of a memorial to accommodate both the individual and the collective. The natural topography of the site is exploited while a reading of the formal aspects of the surrounding context are seen, considered, snudged. The sweeping arc folds into the land, providing ،es of procession, congregation, and reflection. A wall of thin black plate steel ،lds the memorial. Fragility and strength. Thinness. Robust. Singular. A large fold in the land is defined through an elevated platform for the congregation and the view beyond Fitzroy Gardens. A memorial wall folds into the landscape, supporting the land above. A room w،se edge is defined by seating sits below the elm tree, orientating the ،y to the memorial wall and the view beyond to Fitzroy Gardens. New concrete decking slips away from the existing arced path, bringing people into a room through a moment of procession and compression ،cketed by planting.
Purple planting is employed as a signifier of the memorial’s cause
This is not simply a landscape intervention
This is a formal and political intervention
Balancing the sensitivities of place and ،ociation
A figure of planting is a companion to the tree canopy above and is a signifier of the memorial’s cause – the color of the purple ribbon movement for the elimination of violence a،nst women and the elimination of family violence. The figure is formed through an array of different species that will flower with purple at different times of the year. This is a calendar of sorts that s،ws the presence of color in the garden as so،ing that is ever-changing and never-changing.
The design has evolved in consultation with the City of Melbourne, the Department of Premier and Cabinet Office for Women, The Victims and Survivors Advisory Committee, Forced Adoption Practices, Indigenous Advisor Sarah Lynn Rees (JCB IAAD), and The Traditional Owners of Wurundjeri, Boon Wurrung and Bunurong. The memorial’s key refrain: “Ngarru biik marrna Guliny dillbadin. Lore of the land keeps people safe.”, is manifested from conversations with the Traditional Custodians and is translated on the site into Woi Wurrung language. This statement is the introduction to the memorial and is imprinted on the lip of the smoking vessel in traditional language. The vessel will facilitate Indigenous cultural practices and remind visitors of their responsibility to look after the Country and community.
Prior to construction commencing, members of the Victims and Survivors Advisory Council met on-site for a smoking ceremony held at the future location of the memorial wall and smoking vessel. With permission, the ashes from the ceremony were retained and have been added to the concrete mix for the precast decking, setting cleansing and well-being into the fabric of the place.