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Design Selected for WWI Memorial

Monday, February 1, 2016

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A 25-year-old architect-in-training based in Chicago and a veteran New York sculptor have designed the winning entry for the First World War memorial planned for Washington, D.C.

WWI Memorial Design
Photos courtesy WWI Centennial Commission

"The Weight of Sacrifice," designed by Joseph Weishaar and Sabin Howard, was chosen as the winning memorial design to honor those who served in World War I.

The World War I Centennial Commission announced Wednesday (Jan. 27) that it made its final selection from the more than 350 international submissions the commission received.

The Winning Design

The winning design, “The Weight of Sacrifice,” by architect trainee Joseph Weishaar and Sabin Howard, features a “Wall of Remembrance,” a bas relief sculpture of civilians turned battered soldiers leading one another into the fray. The primary focus of the wall is “Brothers-in-Arms,” which represents the redemption that comes from war: the close and healing connection soldiers form as the face horrific scenes of battle together, according to a project description.

The design also includes personal narratives from soldiers, a free-standing sculpture and a plethora of green space.


Sabin Howard (Left) and Joseph Weishaar (Right) worked together on the design concept.

Weishaar received his professional architecture degree from the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas in 2013. He is currently a project architect with Brininstool+Lynch in Chicago.

Howard is a veteran sculptor based in New York City. Weishaar’s full professional team includes Baltimore architectural firm GWWO Inc.; Phoebe Lickwar, a landscape architect and assistant professor at the University of Arkansas; and engineering consultants Henry Adams LLC, Keast & Hood and VHB.

Judges’ Comments

In its verdict, the judging panel wrote: "The Weight of Sacrifice comes closest to meeting all National World War I Memorial goals. Properly executed, this design concept promises to remind and inspire visitors for generations to come about American involvement and sacrifice in World War I.

“And it promises as well to become a popular, well functioning, animated urban park in the heart of the nation’s capital.”

Location, Funding and Reveal

The new memorial will be built on the Pershing Park, which is close to the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue but has fallen into disrepair since opening in 1981.

An existing stature of Gen. John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force during the war, will be relocated within the landscaped area.

Design details

Officials are seeking to raise $40 million from private donors to fund the new memorial.

The completed memorial is expected to be revealed in November 2018—to mark the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I.

‘Great War’ Remembered

America entered World War I on 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.


Tagged categories: Architects; Architecture; Artists; Color + Design; Design; Designers; Government; Landscape architects; North America

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (2/1/2016, 9:24 AM)

Very nice design. The only thing I might add (and it's debatable) are some focal points for gathering/discussing/viewing. Something like low benches designed in where you can sit and contemplate the monument and discuss. Can't just plop them in there, or you risk losing the sight lines.

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