An international panel in Thailand has awarded the tsunami memorial design to a team of Spanish architects in a competition that had drawn entries from more than 40 countries. The memorial will honor the thousands of people who died in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

There was much fanfare Wednesday in Bangkok with the announcement of the winner of an international tsunami memorial design competition that had drawn more than 350 submissions from more than 40 countries.

There were five finalist design teams from Australia, China, Finland, Spain, and the United States.

Matt Tungpanich, president of the Council of Architects of Thailand and chairman of the tsunami memorial competition, announced the winner.

"Unanimously awarded the commission for the memorial to proposal C - "Mountains of Remembrance" by the Spanish based Ana Somoza, Juana Canet, Architecture..." he said.

The design by the Spanish team comprises a cluster of five towers rising from trees, which will house a teaching center, a meditation space, a museum, an amphitheater and restaurants and shops. It will be permanently built in Lamu National Park in Phangnga province in southern Thailand, which had borne the brunt of the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

David Stuart Elliott, a panel member as well as a curator and art historian, said the panel had been influence by the local people in Southern Thailand.

"It wasn't decisive, but we were guided by the response of the local people of Phangnga who actually looked at the plans and this certainly did feed into our final decision,"

More than 5,000 people were killed in Thailand - one of 12 countries hit by the disaster. More than 240,000 people died in the tragedy.