Sir John Monash Centre

Villers Bretonneux, France

Won through an international design competition, the Sir John Monash Centre is one of Cox Architecture’s most significant design works. Though only small in stature, the Sir John Monash Centre represents the ANZAC experience on the Western Front.

The interpretive centre is set to join the lasting legacy of the current memorial by Sir Edwin Lutyens (opened in 1938) and will be visited by some 7,000 visitors every ANZAC Day and some projected 90,000 visitors annually.

The process of designing a building of such international significance involves much discussion and consultation to ensure that the intent and spirit of the original memorial isn’t interfered with, yet is still complemented by a contemporary design as Australian as the Soldiers’ whose names are immortalised on its walls.

Consideration of the materials for the building is made based on the natural terrain of Australia and the aspect of the memorial itself for the visitor, from leading them through the galleries to exploring the gardens ensures that both the original memorial and the new interpretive centre go hand-in-hand as part of the visitor experience.

Underneath a ‘floating field’ roof (taking inspiration from old sacrifice and new technology to tell the story of the ANZACs on the Somme), the centre begins with a trench-like entrance into a foyer where a singular oculus gives a glimpse of the tower above.

This project has the added challenge of international design standards, code requirements and language challenges, overcome with the benefit of French-speaking Australian team members and strong relationships with local partners.


  • Awards
  • Technical Information
  • Cox Team

International Architecture Awards 2019, Monuments Category

In association with
Williams, Abrahams, and Lampros
Department of Veteran's Affairs
Project Status
Completed 2018
Key Consultants
Arup, John Lampros Architects, Tim Williams Architects, Hector Abrahams Architects, Khephren Ingénierie, Incet Ingénierie Batiment, D’Paysage, Convergence Associates, Global Project Solutions
Gross Floor Area
1400 m2
Claudio Aravena Mesías
Monica Edwards
Sophie Coulier
Julie Watts