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Designs Invited for WWI Memorial

Thursday, July 2, 2015

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WASHINGTON--The American soldiers of the First World War will be among the last to see their conflict memorialized in the nation's capital—a project that is finally underway.

Designers are invited to submit concepts for a World War I memorial to be built in Pershing Park on Pennsylvania Avenue. The project was greenlighted in December, a century after the war began.

U.S. World War I Centennial Commission

The U.S. military suffered 116,516 deaths adn 204,000 wounded during World War I. A memorial honoring those who fought is now planned for the nation's capital.

Design submissions will be accepted until July 21. Finalists will be announced Aug. 4.

Officials are seeking to raise $15 million in private funds for the project.

‘Great War’ Remembered

America entered World War I in April 7, 1917, and fought through to the armistice Nov. 11, 1918.

The U.S. military suffered 116,516 deaths; 204,000 troops were wounded.

The global death toll for the 1914-18 conflict was more than 16.5 million, including almost 7 million civilians.

The last living U.S. veteran of the war, Frank Buckles, died in February 2011 at age 110.

In December 2014, 100 years after the start of the war, Congress passed legislation authorizing the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission to establish a new memorial.

Proposed Location

The monument’s proposed location is one block from the White House, with a commanding view of the Capitol, organizers say.

Pershing Park
U.S. World War I Centennial Commission

The proposed location for the memorial is Pershing Park, a multilevel plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue, which is named in honor of World War I Gen. John J. Pershing.

Pershing Park, a multilevel plaza between 14th and 15th streets, honors World War I Gen. John J. Pershing, the commander of the American Expeditionary Force during the war.

2 Stages

The two-stage, open, international competition seeks to redevelop Pershing Park.

“In the first stage, participants will submit narrative and graphic descriptions of a design concept responding to the competition’s design goals,” said Chris Isleib, the commission’s spokesman.

A jury representing the government, the military, the arts and local residents will select three to five submissions. Those entries will be further refined and developed in the second stage of the competition.

Architect of the Capitol
Architect of the Capitol

The monument’s proposed location is one block from the White House with a view of the Capitol.

The commission will have the final say on the design, based on the jury's recommendation, Isleib said.

The commission expects to announce its selected design in January 2016 and hopes to dedicate the memorial in 2018, the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.

Memorial to Educate

The design should “highlight the contributions of the average service member who fought in that war,” according to commission vice chairman Edwin L. Fountain.

Fountain sees the memorial as an opportunity to educate Americans about the war.

“What the American people don’t understand about World War I was what a bloody, horrific and savage war that it was,” he said in a statement.

“They need to understand that American servicemen demonstrated the same valor and courage and heroism and feats of arms in World War I as they did in every other war this country fought in.”

The final design should be “somber, reflective and reverential, not triumphant,” Fountain said.

More information and rules are posted here.


Tagged categories: Architecture; Color + Design; Contests; Design; Government; Monuments; North America

Comment from Stephen Mellon, (7/2/2015, 10:48 AM)

Long overdue!!!!!

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (7/6/2015, 8:12 AM)

I hope that somehow horse cavalry is included - that's how my grandfather served in WWI, the last major war before motors took over that job.

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