WORLD WAR 1 MEMORIAL COMPETITION

washington, dc

with mary wolf, 2015

site

A quadrennial witness to presidential procession, this axially charged site bound by four major streets, is recruited in a deliberate act of refurbishment.  An accessible public space, now visible from street’s edge, reclaims this neglected urban island.

Bordered by existing street trees, with its pre-1980’s topography restored, this site takes on a greater meaning.  In deference to rows of the fallen, trees set in a uniform grid, overlay a gently sloping site. Views to adjacent buildings and the Capitol connect the park back to the city from under this shade canopy. To the west, undulating terrain, reminiscent of the war’s scars, provides organic moments of respite and reflection. To the east, opposite another West Point alum, General Pershing is rescued from his marginalized existence, and now features prominently at park’s edge.

materials

Essential to the language of our national memorials, water also plays an important role in the city’s parks. Inspired by an upturned Brodie helmet, a laminar flow of water from the brill fills a raised round granite pool. Water in a forest clearing at park’s center reflects the void left by those we lost.  The thirteen campaigns of the expeditionary force are inscribed at water’s edge.

In Europe, the Great War shaped a landscape of loss; one hundred years later, the scars remain.  Here, a generation’s forgotten sacrifice, is given its due.