25-year-old architect wins WWI memorial design competition

Dive Brief:

  • The United States World War One Centennial Commission has announced the team of 25-year-old Chicago architect Joseph Weishaar and New York sculptor Sabin Howard as their choice to design a World War I monument to be built on 1.8 acres in Pershing Park in Washington, DC, Curbed reported. The commission hopes to complete the monument by November 2018 to mark the centennial of the end of the war.
  • The winning entry, "The Weight of Sacrifice," was chosen over five finalists after being whittled down from a field of 360 entries. The design features a sunken wall with war scenes to symbolize a shadow of the war and a new statute honoring General John J. "Blackjack" Pershing.
  • Project costs are expected to reach between $30 million and $35 million, and the commission has raised $1 million so far. The project still faces approval hurdles, as it must receive the OK from multiple historic preservation organizations, some of which are against demolishing the existing Pershing Park.

 Dive Insight:

The memorial is facing significant criticism, according to Curbed, most recently from Washington Post critic and Pulitzer Prize winner Philip Kennicott, who wrote, "All five of the designs obliterate the (M. Paul) Friedberg park, rather than building on it." He added, "None of the proposals, selected in July from 360 entries, rises to a standard the commission should champion."

The Cultural Landscape Foundation released a statement with concerns regarding the chosen design, as it said the design would result in the demolition of Pershing Park.

Weishaar, a 2013 graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, works as a project architect with Brininstool+Lynch in Chicago.

The National Desert Storm War Memorial organizers also face challenges to their plan to complete a memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, by November 2018 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Operation Desert Storm.

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Filed Under: Design
Top image credit: Wikimedia