The design reacts to the unique condition of the site, a peaceful natural area at the heart of Christchurch city center. It amplifies this contrast by introducing a set of empty boxes in the middle of the Avon River. This creates voids underneath the water level, and their emptiness symbolizes the emotional and human vacuum left after the earthquakes.
The design acts on the tension between presence and absence, physically and symbolically. It offers various levels of visibility of the memorial from different angles. Seen from Oxford Terrace or from the interior spaces, the inconspicuous presence of the boxes above water level and their minimalistic design represent the contrast to the powerful action of hollowing the river. It dismantles the relation between ground and water level, as if questioning its own stability.