National World War One Memorial Design Competition

Stage II design concept selections announced

0013 Plaza to the Forgotten War0037 World War One Memorial Concept0077 The Weight of Sacrifice0263 An American Family Portrait0329 Heroes Green



WASHINGTON, DC (August 19, 2015) -- Five design concepts for the National World War One Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC  have been selected to proceed to Stage II of the design competition. Robert Dalessandro, Chair of the World War One Centennial Commission, announced the selections today.

"This week I am pleased to announce the five design concepts selected by our jury to go forward to the next stage of development for the new World War One Memorial in Pershing Park," Dalessandro said.  Those selected include: "Plaza to the Forgotten War" submitted by Brian Johnsen, AIA; Sebastian Schmaling, AIA, LEEP AP; and Andrew Cesarz, at Johnsen Schmaling Architects, in Milwaukee, WI; "World War One Memorial Concept" submitted by Devin Kimmel, Principal at Kimmel Studio, llc in Annapolis, MD"; "The Weight of Sacrifice" submitted by Joseph Weishaar of Chicago, IL; "An American Family Portrait Wall in the Park" submitted by STL Architects in Chicago, IL; and "Heroes' Green" submitted by Maria Counts, of Counts Studio in Brooklyn, NY.

Robert Dalessandro"Thank you to the each of the participants in Stage I of the design competition," said Dalessandro. "The participants provided us all 350+ works of art. Each design concept is an important tribute to the veterans of WW1. We want these artworks to be lasting tributes, as well, so all Stage I submissions will remain available for viewing on our website. They will also become a part of the permanent record of the Centennial Commission.

"Stage I of the design competition was the first step in a long development process," Dalessandro noted. "That process includes many different reviews, designed to bring forward the best possible plan for all parties. These include reviews for environmental, cultural, historical, engineering, budgetary, and livability concerns.

"We have partnered closely with stakeholder organizations to listen to as many voices as possible, and to bring forward the best possible plan. We will continue to do so. Those stakeholder partners include, but are not limited to, the National Park Service, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, and the National Capital Planning Commission," said Dalessandro.

"In Stage II, the Participants will evolve their design concepts for the memorial and present their designs, while fulfilling the requirements set out by our Commission, and by our stakeholder partners. Each design team will be provided with a stipend from the WW1 Centennial Commission, to help with the concept development, and the construction design process.

"We plan to make these developed design concepts public, and to invite the public to make comments on them, as well," said Dalessandro. "We hope to present the final design concept selection of this competition to the full Commission early next year."

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Contributions of any size will assist the United States World War One Centennial Commission in carrying out its prime missions of educating about, honoring, and commemorating those Americans who served and gave their lives in the military services during the First World War, as well as those who served in other vital capacities as the nation armed, equipped, trained, transported, and supported America's fighting forces during the conflict. Click the "Donate" button below to make a donation to the U.S. Foundation for the Commemoration of the World Wars, the Commission's official fundraising organization. Donate now and the Pritzker Military Museum and Library will match your gift.

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Monuments and memorials
to be registered, revitalized

WASHINGTON, DC -- Across the nation, thousands of monuments and memorials to America's World War One efforts stand in city squares, cemeteries, parks, and public buildings.
The World War One Centennial Commission will partner with Saving Hallowed Ground, the American Battle Monuments Commission, the World War One Memorial Inventory Project, and other organizations to identify and record all these monuments.

The Commission will encourage local communities and organizations to perform conservation and preservation services to the monuments themselves, and engage school students, Scouts, and communities in researching and learning about the history of their monuments and about the stories behind the names inscribed on these Living History Memorials, to remind citizens of their meaning and the great deeds they memorialize.


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National World War One Memorial Design Competition

Stage I Report

 Note: The Stage I Report is issued by the Competition Managers in accordance with the Competition Manual. Primarily, the Report is the official record of Stage I of the Competition describing the competition process to date, the Jury evaluation and analysis, and the Jury recommendation as to those selected to participate in Stage II. Secondarily, the Report briefly describes how Stage II will be conducted. Details regarding Stage II can be found in the Competition Manual.

The Design Challenge

Even among other memorial projects in Washington DC, the design of a national World War I Memorial at Pershing Park on Pennsylvania Avenue poses a number of unique challenges:.

  1. Unlike the World War II, Korea and Vietnam memorials on the Mall, the World War I Memorial will commemorate a generation of American servicemen and women who are no longer with us. Thus it will not serve as a place of grieving, like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, or a place to applaud returning heroes, as the World War II Memorial. This raises particular questions regarding the memorial’s theme, its primary intended audience, and appropriate design style of the memorial.
  2. Again unlike the memorials on the Mall, the World War I Memorial in Pershing Park must serve not only as a war memorial, but also as an attractive, well-functioning urban park. The memorial and park elements must be integrated so that the memorial serves the primary function of the park without overwhelming it, while the park elements are dignified and appropriate to the memorial theme.
  3. Because the memorial does not have a constituency of living veterans, and will not benefit from the natural visitor flow on the Mall, it must be an attractive destination in its own right, yet the features that make it an attraction must contribute to, or at least not distract from, the memorial theme.
  4. Pershing Park overhead with caption2Unlike the Vietnam and Korean War veterans memorials, and to a greater extent than the World War II memorial, the World War I memorial design must take appropriate account of the existing memorial elements and other design features at Pershing Park. The historical and cultural significance of these features is not yet fully understood, adding yet another challenge to a competitive design process whose parameters and constraints have not been definitively articulated.
  5. Underlying all these considerations is the fundamental objective, as instructed by Congress, of properly honoring the service of American forces in World War I, whose collective sacrifice – 116,516 lives lost -- was greater than that of American forces in Korea and Vietnam combined, who are commemorated on the National Mall.

Design Competition Process

In order to have a broad array of concepts for approaching these challenges, the World War I Centennial Commission (the Commission) chose to conduct the World War I Memorial Design Competition as an open, two-stage competition, with no restrictions on eligibility. Stage I was an open call to submit design concepts for evaluation, on an anonymous basis, by the Competition Jury. The Jury selected five design concept finalists to advance to Stage II. In Stage II the designers will continue to define and develop their concepts in consultation with the Commission, the government agencies that will ultimately have design approval authority, and other stakeholders. All procedures, rules and regulations governing the conduct of the World War I Memorial Design Competition are set forth in the Competition Manual.

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The forgotten story of American writers on the frontline of World War I

HemingwayBy Hazel Hutchison
Senior Lecturer at University of Aberdeen
from The Conversation

It was a very public gesture for a very private man. On July 26 1915, the novelist Henry James gave up his American nationality and became a British citizen. He placed a notice in The Times explaining why.

He had lived in England for almost 40 years, he said, and had formed many “long friendships and associations”, but it was the war raging in Europe that had cemented his “desire to throw his weight and personal allegiance, for whatever they may be worth, into the scale of the contending nation’s present and future fortune”.

Henry JamesTo intensify public interest, James asked H H Asquith, the British prime minister, to sign as one of his personal sponsors – each of whom had to testify that this celebrated author of some 20 novels and 100 short stories was capable of “speaking and writing English decently”. Even in the dark days of 1915, that must have raised a smile.

James was quite serious, however. For him, as for many Americans, the war in Europe was much more than a local squabble about geopolitical boundaries or a struggle for influence in the colonies. He called it the “crash of civilization”. To a post-evolution generation, brought up to believe that the biological world and social structures were all programmed to progress towards perfection, this vast and brutal conflict meant the collapse of an entire world view.

It was, James wrote to a friend, as if they had all been drifting placidly along to the edge of some “grand Niagara”. He was bewildered that the US government seemed willing to sit back and observe, especially after the sinking of the Lusitania in May 1915 by a German U-boat with the loss of 124 American lives.

Americans filling the breach

James was not alone in feeling that America had a role to play. Although the US government would not officially join the war until April 1917, thousands of American citizens, perhaps as many as half a million, travelled to Europe to enlist with European armies – on both sides of the fighting. In 1914 around one in four Americans was of recent German descent; many mid-western communities were German-speaking. Conversely the east-coast bourgeoisie, many of whom had travelled in France or Britain, leaned towards the Allied cause.

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