Franco-British Thiepval Memorial
To listen to a site and its history, to evoke the unspeakable experiences of life in the trenches.
The prime British marker of the Battle of the Somme, the Memorial at Thiepval was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Its cement, vertical silhouette looks out over a military cemetery that extends over the horizon. The collective history of the site is experienced geographically. It reveals itself in the vista over the vast, hilly plains punctuated by the cemeteries for the different combatants and the long lines of trees that form a kind of isolated and fragile series of frontlines. From the ever-present sky and its changing weather patterns to the reality of this ground to which so many have returned. The visitor’s center and museum is a long hall of steel, glass, and brick embedded in the soil. Visitors leave behind the vast landscapes of the Somme when they park their cars and walk down a narrow, sloping path towards this almost immaterial building, a walk that literally recreates the experience of being in the trenches.
Construction of the visitor centre of the Franco-British Memorial in Thiepval
Conseil Général de la Somme – Thiepval Project charitable fund
Dominique Hernandez, landscape designer
RFR, structure engineering
Delta, fluids engineering
1,050 m² (net)
Delivered in 2005