WWI Memorial, Washington DC

WWI Centenary Memorial, Washington DC

Pershing Park sits at a critical intersection between the urban grid and the diagonal boulevards of the national capital. It exists between the everyday urban life of the capital and the network of Washington DC’s national icons.  Both a working park and a memorial to one of America’s most signicant  contributions to the stability of the Western world, we propose that Pershing Park transcends the scale of local park into the network of national icons that dene Washington DC. How can we reimagine the existing Pershing Park to respond to issues of city-making, of memory, place, remembrance and war in the contemporary age? Can the memorial be an urban object that positively contributes to a city’s present, while commemorating the memory of its fallen?

The new memorial and surrounding park is A House for General Pershing. The  new memorial is a shelter, a housing, and the rejuvenated park is its garden. The  memorial appears at first as an unadorned monolith – a blackened copper cube  whose solidity and weight suggest the burden of war upon society. The weight of  this monolith depresses the earth, moulding the land towards a single low-point,  dening a space of remembrance separated from the bustle of the Capital. The  memorial is rotated to align with Pennsylvania Avenue, establishing oblique and diagonal relationships with the White House, the Capitol and the Washington  Memorial. The memorial is an urban object, mediating the daily life of a city and the timeless scale of memory.

A collaboration with Kevin Liu.