The above was completed as part of the World War One Memorial competition on the site of the Pershing Memorial. The following is an excert from the official competition website:
Alone among the four great wars of the 20th century—the "American century"—there is no national memorial to World War I in our nation's capital. More American servicemen—116,516—gave their lives in that war than in the Korean and Vietnam wars combined, and 200,000 more came home wounded and maimed. Yet while those who fell in Korea and Vietnam, as well as in World War II, are honored and remembered with memorials on the National Mall, no such recognition is given to the veterans of World War I.
In December 2014, one hundred years after the start of the war, the U.S. Congress passed legislation to redress this omission. Congress authorized the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission to establish a new memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue, one block from the White House and with a commanding view of the Capitol.
The competition entry sought to address the complexities of the prompt through the following three strategies:
Memorial walls covered in hundreds of thousands of Unforged Medals flow and move in the wind. Each medal represents sacrifices made for the greater war effort both overseas and on the home front. In partnership with Northwest Territory Mint (fabricator of all modern military medals), each disk will be crafted from the same brass used for military medals, connecting the landscape with the heroism and valor of service men and women, both past and present.
While there are no longer any living survivors of WWI, visitors can touch the disks as a way of connecting with a life effected by the war, and trace the movement across the surface as a reminder of the still-living memory of these heroic Americans.
The design is a reflection of the bridges, trenches, and war torn landscapes of WWI. The memorial walls of Unforged Medals are cut into the landscape and offer a unique place of reflection and engagement. A land bridge rises across the site offering 360 degree views of Washington, D.C., and an opportunity to reflect on the future of our nation. A series of gardens speak to the landscapes of central Europe destroyed by war, yet reborn through nature.
The site integrates into the broader urban fabric of Washington, D.C. as an experientially rich and diverse modern memorial park. It is a place equally suited for the one-time visitor or the everyday user, with the grandiose scale of the memorial giving way to richly layered social spaces.
World War I Memorial Competition
Gray Garmon / Jean-Pierre Casillas