The World War I Centennial Commission has established the following Design Goals to inform competition participants and the general public of the aspirations for the World War I Memorial. The selected design will undergo further review by several regulatory and advisory bodies, including the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, the National Capital Planning Commission, and the District of Columbia State Historic Preservation Office.
- Pershing Park will be a national World War I Memorial, in contrast to today's park that only incidentally includes a small memorial to General Pershing and the American Expeditionary Forces under his command.
- The Memorial should honor the heroism and valor of the American servicemen and women who served, fought, and died in
World War I, and should commemorate the tragedy and magnitude of loss suffered by the United States in the conflict.
- The Memorial should be timeless and meaningful for future generations, which can be achieved through appropriate
interpretive elements including (but not limited to) figurative or other sculpture, traditional monument forms, and relevant quotations or other texts relating to American participation in World War I. The Memorial shall not list names of individual servicemen and women who served or were killed in World War I.
- The Memorial should balance a sense of enclosure and dignity with openness and visibility that is inviting to passersby.
- The Memorial should provide open views of the U.S. Capitol Building, respect the Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site, the Pennsylvania Avenue viewshed, and be contextual with adjacent sites including Freedom Plaza, the Federal Triangle buildings, Sherman Park, the Treasury Building, the White House Grounds, and the historic Willard and Washington Hotels.
- The Memorial should recognize and relate to its urban context. Because of its location and its role as both a Memorial and a park, the Memorial should play a part in public and private activity patterns in the immediate area.
- Pershing Park currently includes a variety of existing elements, including the existing Pershing Memorial, which is a contributing feature of the Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site. To generate a visionary design concept for the World War I Memorial, competitors should thoughtfully consider the range of appropriate enhancement strategies and transformation options—preservation, alteration, relocation, demolition—for addressing the Park's physical elements and integrating the existing Pershing Memorial elements and new commemorative features into the site.
- The Memorial should be designed primarily as open space; buildings or conditioned indoor space such as a ranger contact station, public restrooms, bookstore, or concession pavilion are strongly discouraged.
- The Memorial should be designed to be constructed at a cost no greater than $20-25 million, to be operationally sustainable, and to minimize maintenance requirements over time.
- The Memorial should adhere to principles of Universal Design and environmental sustainability.