And the Winner Is...

New Design Unveiled for National WWI Memorial

Jan 26 2016 - 3:21pm

4.7 million Americans served in World War I; 116,516 of them were lost. Now, the US World War I Centennial Commission has unveiled the winning design, entitled "The Weight of Sacrifice," in the competition for a new World War I Memorial in Washington, DC.

Chicago project architect Joseph Wieshaar of Brininstool+Lynch, and New York City sculptor Sabin Howard, led the team that will design the memorial, which is expected to cost up to $35 million to build by November 2018—the 100th anniversary of World War I.

Weishaar, who's only 25 years old, tells the Chicago Tribune this is the "greatest opportunity" he’s ever had. “I'm enthralled to see where it goes," he says.

The memorial, which will be built in Pershing Park—one block from The White House and  adjacent to the National Mall—will be the largest civic tribute to US veterans in a decade. The five finalist design concepts can be viewed at

In 2013, Congress established the commission to ensure a suitable observation of the centennial of World War I. In May 2015, the commission opened an international design competition. In the first stage of the competition, the commission received more than 360 design concepts from around the world. In August, an independent jury of design professionals and historians selected five of the design concepts to advance to the next stage of the competition.

The five design teams consulted with representatives from the commission, the National Park Service, the US Commission of Fine Arts, the National Capital Planning Commission and other stakeholders to develop and refine their concepts. They submitted their final concepts in December 2015.

The competition jury reviewed the finalists' submissions earlier this month, and recommended a team for selection by the commission. The competition was open to any professional, university-level student or other interested participants. Take a closer look in this new video.

“We were thrilled by the work quality and creativity from all the participants in this competition. This selected design concept reflects a high level of professional achievement,” says Edwin Fountain, vice chair, US World War I Centennial Commission and lead on the World War I Memorial project.

“Those five million Americans who served in uniform during World War I literally changed the world. This new landmark in our nation's capital will be a worthy expression of their great legacy,” says Robert Dalessandro, chair, US World War I Centennial Commission.

The grand-daughter-in-law of Gen. John Pershing calls it “an important day” for her family and the country. “We work together to honor the almost five million Americans who served during the Great War," says Sandra Pershing.

Join the journey on Twitter @WW1CC #WW1CC and #WWI, and on Facebook.