World War One Grotto of Remembrance
Devin S. Kimmel, AIA, ASLA
Credits for the larger team
Thomas Haley, Sandra Vicchio, AIA, Leed BD+C, Jeff Renshaw, David Brussat, Maria Ruhlmann, CVM Engineering
World War One Grotto Of Remembrance
Kimmel Studio, llc of Annapolis, Md., founded by Devin Kimmel, AIA, ASLA of Bel Air, Md., has submitted its design proposal for the national World War I Memorial in Washington. The competition is sponsored by the National World War One Centennial Commission pursuant to an Act of Congress. Mr. Kimmel’s design is one of five finalists in the competition selected August 4, 2015.
The competition jury will select a memorial design to be erected at Pershing Park, which commemorates Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces that helped win a conflict that began in 1914, stagnated in bloody trench warfare, and ended on November 11, 1918. The World War One commission believes that a memorial to one individual constitutes an insufficient remembrance of a war that significantly transformed American society, or of the losses that the war entailed. A national memorial to World War II opened on the Mall in 2004.
The Kimmel memorial design, entitled “World War One Grotto of Remembrance,” would transform Pershing Park, which opened in 1981 at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and 15th St., N.W. The park will be redesigned to reflect the work of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead, who designed the United States Capitol grounds, with seating and programming space. The Pershing statue will be moved into a walled memorial space at the center of the site, entered through three ornate granite portals which together create a commemorative ellipse. At the north edge of the ellipse will stand a granite tower with an arched grotto at its base. A still reflecting pool at the grotto will contain an eternal flame.
The memorial will commemorate America’s role in the war and help us to remember the courage of the nation’s men and women that served in the war. It mourns the heavy loss of life required to achieve victory, and expresses sorrow at the tragedy of war. The design team believes that the timeless architectural language it chose to reflect the memorial’s symbolic meaning not only honors the fallen but also works to fit the new memorial into the largely traditional context of its already grand historical setting, dominated by the U.S. Treasury, the Department of Commerce and the Willard Hotel. The White House is one block away.