On February 16, the WWI Commission presented two design concepts to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts for the WWI Memorial, proposed for the memorial plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, known as Pershing Park.
While the Commission did not take any action, they did have a few comments to give. While acknowledging the difficulty to balance a new commemorative design with a nationally significant landscape, they emphasized that there should be less of a focus on modifying the park in order to accommodate a new memorial.
In a letter that Commission Secretary Thomas E. Luebke sent to Regional Director of the National Park Service Robert Vogel, Luebke wrote, “Given the intimate scale of the historic park, [the Commission] urged the reconsideration of the commemorative elements proposed, both in typology and location, recommending that a smaller intervention may be more appropriate: perhaps a single sculpture in the round, or multiple elements distributed within or at the perimeter of the site.”
The extended wall and bas relief were also seen as “overwhelm[ing] the existing park design.” The Commission believed that fewer massive elements are necessary to convey the memorial’s message.
Other elements of the proposed memorial that the Commission showed disinterest for included the transformation of the existing central pool and the addition of a grass lawn into the central space. Instead, the Commission recommended the use of water—”whether moving, still, noisy, reflective”—in the memorial.
To learn more about the two design concepts, check out this Curbed DC article.
To read the full letter, see the document below.
• CFA 16/FEB/17-1 [U.S. Commission of Fine Arts]
• The WWI Memorial’s two design concepts, revealed [Curbed DC]