Ever Wanted to Design a WWI Memorial? Here’s Your Chance!

Over 100,000 Americans died in World War I, yet it’s the one 20th century conflict not commemorated with a memorial on or near the National Mall in Washington, DC. But Congress has authorized a redesign of the memorial to American WWI commander John J. Pershing (a block from the White House), and the U.S. WWI Centennial Commission has opened the design competition to all comers will to pay the $100 fee!

Here’s the commission’s vision for the memorial:

The memorial should honor and commemorate the service of American forces in World War I with sufficient scale and gravity that the memorial takes its place within the larger network of memorials and monuments situated on and around the National Mall. At the same time, designers should forge functional and perceptual linkages to the pathways, streets, and civic spaces and architectural landmarks around the site. Design and landscape elements should contribute to the park composition and strengthen the park’s relationship to the larger urban context, while complementing, and not detracting from, the meaning of the commemorative elements (whether new or pre-existing) within the site.

Also, the memorial should

…honor the heroism and valor of the American servicemen and women who served, fought, and died in World War I, and should commemorate the tragedy and magnitude of loss suffered by the United States in the conflict.

…be timeless and meaningful for future generations, which can be achieved through appropriate interpretive elements including (but not limited to) figurative or other sculpture, traditional monument forms, and relevant quotations or other texts relating to American participation in World War I. The Memorial shall not list names of individual servicemen and women who served or were killed in World War I.

…balance a sense of enclosure and dignity with openness and visibility that is inviting to passersby.

You’ve got until July 21st to submit your entry.

Need some ideas? Here are a few images of the WWI memorials that our students saw on the 2013 and 2015 iterations of the HIS230L travel course in Europe.


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