The winning design for the WWI Memorial, selected in January 2016 after a two-phase competition, is titled The Weight of Sacrifice, and was submitted by GWWO Architects, New York sculptor Sabin Howard, and Chicago architect Joseph Weishaar. Their proposal would replace an onsite kiosk and cut a path through Friedberg's concrete pool, a defining feature of the 1.8-acre park.While many in landscape architecture and preservation circles acknowledge the importance of a WWI memorial, they believe the memorial design will alter Pershing Park beyond recognition. In a letter to the NCPC, Friedberg called the memorial's defining feature "a persistent and intrusive one note wall that’s being forced into the space, thus obliterating the scale and meaning of the original design.” The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts had told the WWI Commission in March of this year to come up with a design that wouldn't overshadow the original late modern landscape. For his part, the director of the WWI Memorial Foundation would like a memorial on the National Mall, not Pershing Park. "We're 100 percent for the National Mall," said David DeJonge, president and co-founder of the WWI Memorial Foundation. The park, he said, is a half-hour walk from the other war memorials on the mall, and the park's landmark protections would make it hard for the memorial to be realized in the way stakeholders desire. At the ceremonial groundbreaking last week, Dejonge told Curbed DC that the WWI Centennial Commission had nixed Pershing as the site for the memorial. However, the WWI Commission's Colonel Tom Moe said Pershing is still under consideration as a memorial site. WWI Memorial Foundation Co-Founder and Centennial Commission Vice-Chair Edwin Fountain added that the group hopes the memorial will remain in the park. The WWI Centennial Commission echoed Colonel Moe's statement. "No. We are not moving the memorial. That is an erroneous blog post," said Chris Isleib, director of public affairs at the WWI Centennial Commission, referring to the Curbed piece. To support his statement, Isleib emailed a resolution to The Architect's Newspaper (AN) from a March 22, 2017 Centennial Commission meeting that outlined the group's stance on the National Mall location: "We would obviously like to consider the option of being on the National Mall, but Congress ultimately decides the issue of the memorial's location. ... Congress authorized the memorial for Pershing Park." At the meeting, the 12-member commission voted to consider the National Mall—if the option becomes available. However, shortly before the November 9 groundbreaking last week, according to DeJonge, the WWI Commission again discussed moving the memorial to the National Mall. Isleib at first declined to comment on the encounter, then followed up to say he did not know if any conversation had taken place. DeJonge is hoping to leverage federal law to site the memorial on the National Mall. The former Main Navy and Munitions Building, which sits over Constitution Gardens, was home base for WWI planning headquarters, and given the connection between WWI and the Mall, DeJonge believes a section of the Antiquities Act of 1906 could be leveraged to build the memorial. Among other provisions, the law allows presidents to create national monuments on federal property. To that end, his group is petitioning President Donald J. Trump to authorize the building of the memorial on the National Mall, which is overseen by the National Parks Service. (He outlined the Foundation's plans in a press release last week.) As of now, the memorial is the early stages of design development, and it hasn't gotten final approvals from two key agencies, the NCPC or the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. Nor have any building permits been issued. Any D.C. memorial must comply with the Commemorative Works Act, a federal law that guides the construction of monuments on the National Mall and other areas, and gain approvals from the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission (NCMAC). Whatever site is selected, the WWI memorial still faces a stringent and lengthy approvals process moving forward.
Today, the onePULSE Foundation launched its Ideas Generator, an open call for designs for a permanent memorial and museum dedicated to the 49 lives lost in the 2016 Pulse nightclub tragedy. The June 12th attack in which a gunman opened fire in the Orlando nightclub, killing dozens and injuring 68 others, was considered a terrorist attack on the United States and an act of hatred against the LGTBQ+ community. The planned memorial and museum is set to honor the lives affected by this event, including the survivors, victims’ families, first responders, and healthcare professionals. According to onePulse Foundation board member Hilary Lewis, today’s announcement is meant to spark a national conversation on the need for the project and how it might turn the site of a crime scene into a place of hope and reflection. "We are looking for the most innovative way to combine the idea of a memorial, a museum, and a gathering place,” Lewis told The Architect’s Newspaper. “The need is for something uplifting and we’re looking to create a space that moves the discussion forward in a positive way, while also helping us understand how to make the world a better, more inclusive place.” The Ideas Generator invites people from around the world to present ideas related to architecture, landscape, urbanism, and artistic intervention. The open call asks for both rough ideas and polished proposals. The Foundation recently opened its interim memorial in Orlando, which features interactive wall exhibits, lighted benches and a steel fence where visitors can attach messages and mementos. The design and program of the new memorial and museum will possibly feature these elements as well, but the Foundation has yet to release an official RFP for the actual project. “We recognize that the greatest talent out there may come from people who we haven’t heard of yet,” said Lewis. “If someone wants to submit a conceptual idea, whether it’s a sketch on a napkin or a poem, we’d like to see it. The Ideas Generator is designed to open the lines of communication so we can figure out the best way to develop the RFP and make sure we’re on the right track.” Last fall, the Foundation hosted a public, online survey pertaining to the look and feel of the future memorial, as well as what issues it should address and whom it should honor. Answers from the family members of the victims and survivors were given top consideration. Many cited the Vietnam War Memorial and the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., the Oklahoma City National Memorial, and the National September 11 Memorial in New York as inspirations for the future Pulse project. Potential plans to demolish the former nightclub or keep it standing are also discussed. You can read their individual thoughts in the survey here. The Foundation will be accepting ideas through August 31 and begin developing an RFP this fall. To learn more about the Foundation's vision for the project as well as Points to Consider when submitting ideas, go here.