Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Friday, October 2, 2015

Finalist for the National World War One Memorial Design: An American Family Portrait Wall in the Park

We continue our presentation of the finalists for the design of America's World War One memorial with:

An American Family Portrait Wall in the Park

0263 An American Family Portrait Wall in the Park by STL Architects, Chicago, IL


Concept Statement

Major Design Features:

  • A  Family Photo Album of over 100 large-format images grouped according to four themes:  family, brotherhood, diversity, and national pride

  • Six large bronze statues including the existing Pershing statue

  • Dramatic nighttime lighting scheme

Distribution Pattern of the Four Themes

Jury Comments: The design concept is founded on paying tribute to the American men and women who participated in World War I through a memorial collage of photographs integrated into the park design. By seamlessly blending framed memories into the landscape, it provides an experience that is both park and memorial, open and inviting exploration. The park is organized by a northwest-southeast axis axis visually connecting the park to the Capitol. While this concept has the potential of a truly unique park, the thematic, technical, and curatorial issues of the story boxes will require resolution. The statuary design, scale and execution will need to be an integral part of the interpretive and memorial experience.

Designer's Concept in Partial Schematic Cross-Section

We also invite commentators to share your observations with your fellow readers below.  MH


  1. I'm so glad your blogging is sharing these designs. I like the concept of sharing the stories of the war, but I can't see this memorial holding up well -- the memories it seeks to preserve will be too easily destroyed by graffiti, grime, and inevitable wear and tear....

  2. I see this as being a nightmare to maintain. Not to mention, way too modern for my sensibility.

  3. Are these below grand panels to look into? Keeping them dry is going to be tough. Also seating is needed, if people are planting their butt on the panels that others are trying to see and read is not a good design. Need a small section (1/4) on the causes of the war, a small section on the war before the US entered (1/4) and the countries involved, then a large section about our effort (1/2) - home front to front lines. Then close with a tribute to the warriors.

    1. Why would there need to be any sections on causes of the war or anything on before we entered? Does the Vietnam, Korean, or WWII Memorial have those?