Work on the new Battle of Fromelles War Museum is progressing well, I noted on a visit to the battlefields last week. There is an existing museum in the village which has been there for more than twenty years, located in the attic of the town hall. The growth in interest in Fromelles and the construction of Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery has led to a substantial increase in visitors to the area. This new museum will help tell the story of the battle. The architects, Serero, who are working of the project are
“… aiming at establishing a link between sky and earth, between visitors and the “burial” of soldiers. This is a building with a low profile, which is half-sunk on its northeast facade. The work on natural topography has helped to improve the natural slope of the site and cover, partially, the technical space of the museum.
Only the volume containing the exhibition spaces emerges from the landscape, indicating the trace of a burial. This emergence is in concrete, which evokes the stacking of successive geological stratifications and different types of soil in the basement. The museum is gradually revealed to people accessing the site, with its low profile, which is respectful of the presence of the adjacent cemetery.
Two visual axes generate the plan of the museum. One axis to the cemetery, that allows to connect the room of the last sequence with the resting place of soldiers. The other visual axis opens the lobby area to the church spire of Fromelles, which immediately identifies the skyline of the city. These axes were used to guide and define the “edges” of the octagonally shaped exhibition space.
The museum is organized around a octagonal core which houses the exhibition hall. This form, in the spirit of the adjacent cemetery, evokes both the rigid geometry of military construction, and the pure geometry of the sacral as the octagonal drum of the Church of Fromelles.”
The Museum is due to open in early 2014.