The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) has reviewed the revised concept for the National Washington WWI Memorial as part of several major commemoration and transport projects taking place in the capital city. Designed by architect Joseph Weishaar and sculptor Sabine Howard, the proposal won the memorial’s competition last year, beating out 4 other finalists with its multilevel design and use of relief sculpture.
Though the initial design sparked controversy due to its plan to demolish most of the existing Pershing Park, its updated redesign seeks to maintain more of the park than previously proposed. The park, designed by landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg and Oehme van Sweden, is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, according to the National Park Service (NPS). The updates in the redesign seek to balance the new memorial with the existing site.
The main components of the memorial are a 65-foot long bronze bas-relief wall on the site’s western edge and a water feature. A few significant changes have transformed the design from its original 2014 entry: the size of the wall is smaller in order to improve views across the park and look for ways to better integrate it into the park’s existing features, like the terracing and steps; the original granite materials from the park’s initial landscaping will also be retained. (Some minor swaps include a kiosk replaced by a flagpole and the repositioning of a statue of Pershing).
The original pool which forms the centerpiece of Pershing Park is set to remain, with the revised design adding a path across it to access the relief wall (instead of removing the pool). Instead of wrapping around the edges of the pool, the path is set back and narrower, leading to a more subtle design intervention than what was originally intended. Described as a “restored pool concept,” Weishaar’s water feature design sets out to re-invent the pool area for pedestrians to interact with the new sculpture that would be occupying its west side. Water will cascade from the top of the relief sculpture to the main pool, creating a third elevated water feature.
Overall the revised design will retain most of the existing terraces and original pool unique to the park instead of demolishing them. The water feature is modified for better circulation and the original fountain will be with the bas-relief sculpture wall as originally planned.
Information Courtesy of National Capital Planning Commission
Last week, the World War I Centennial Commission announced architect Joseph Weishaar and sculptor Sabin Howard as the winners of the WWI Memorial Competition held to redesign Washington, DC’s Pershing Park for the 100th anniversary of the conflict.
After announcing five finalists in August of 2015, the World War I Centennial Commission has announced the winner of its National World War I Memorial competition: The Weight of Sacrifice by 25-year-old architect Joe Weishaar and sculptor Sabin Howard. The design focuses on the sacrificial cost of war through relief sculpture, quotations of soldiers, and a freestanding sculpture.
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