‘Kranji : Singapore’s War Cemetery & Memorial’, with Athanasios Tsakonas is the seventh talk in the Commonwealth Heritage Forum’s Series on ‘Cemeteries and Burial Grounds across the Commonwealth’.

Completed is 1957, the Kranji War Cemetery and Memorial in Singapore is a masterwork of modernist architecture. Designed by Colin St Clair Oakes, a former Rome scholar and veteran of the Burma campaign, this significant monument is a culmination of Oakes’ experience in war and evolution as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Principal Architect for Asia.

This talk explores how one of Asia’s most important sacred sites was conceived, and the many agents of its creation. How this location, a small hill in the north of Singapore and overlooking the Straits of Johor, was selected among many others across the island, including the infamous Changi. It also considers how Kranji can be viewed as one element of a wider endeavour of such sites throughout Asia that trace the advance of the Japanese Imperial Forces.

Athanasios Tsakonas is an architect and writer with an extensive professional career throughout Australasia and Southeast Asia. He serves as design principal in Tan + Tsakonas Architects, a Singapore-based design consultancy, and recently established the Melbourne design and build laboratory, Peri Vallon, to explore new approaches to urban housing. With an architectural education from the University of Adelaide (majoring in Architectural History & Theory), followed by an MA (Urban Design) from the National University of Singapore, his research interests include the spatial impact of war cemeteries and memorials upon commemoration and remembrance. His book In Honour of War Heroes: Colin St Clair Oakes and the Design of Kranji War Memorial was published by Marshall Cavendish in 2020.

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