The challenge of this design competition was to uniquely address the existing site through the creation of a national memorial dedicated to WWI’s place in history and honor the American men and women involved in the war effort in an existing national park, Pershing Park, which has recently fallen in to disrepair. Balancing the sensitivities of both of those primary challenges, our integrated design solution thrives to serve the public by providing a verdant urban park that accommodates visitors through the creation of an experience, whether in the heart of the memorial or along the peripheral streetscape edge.
At the core of the solution are five guiding principles that serves as the foundation for our holistic vision. We sought to honor, enlighten, evoke, enhance and connect. The park’s signature memorial element is a deconstructed expression of a trench which is achieved through materiality and manipulation of the earth. The comprehensive solution includes plazas of various sizes to allow for visitors to congregate while also providing spaces for large gatherings or events. Continuous seat walls and rock croppings throughout the design harmoniously merge with rolling berms, a lush tree canopy and native, seasonal plantings. An updated streetscape and illuminated steel portals draw visitors into the site. Improved access, circulation and visual connections are addressed through a hierarchy of access points, the lowering of existing embankments, along with unified wayfinding and educational signage.