25-year-old architect wins competition for World War I memorial in Pershing Park

Joe Weishaar and sculptor Sabin Howard were selected from among five finalists and over 350 entries overall.

January 28, 2016 |

Rendering courtesy of World War One Centennial Commission

The United States World War One Centennial Commission has announced its selection of Joseph Weishaar, a 25-year-old architect from Chicago, and Sabin Howard, a sculptor from New York, as its choice to design a new World War I monument, set to be constructed in Washington D.C.’s Pershing Park.

The project, titled “The Weight of Sacrifice,” will feature a wall depicting war scenes and a new statue meant to honor General John J. Pershing.

About the project, the design team writes, “Each cubic foot of the memorial represents an American soldier lost in the war; 116,516 in all. Upon this unified mass spreads a verdant lawn. This is a space for freedom built upon the great weight of sacrifice.”

They continue, “Above all, the memorial sculptures and park design stress the glorification of humanity and enduring spirit over the glorification of war.”


Rendering courtesy of World War One Centennial Commission


The walls will feature quotations that will “guide visitors around the memorial through the changes in elevation, weaving a poetic narrative of the war as described by generals, politicians, and soldiers. “

The new memorial, which was authorized by congress last year, is expected to cost between $30 million and $35 million. The commission has raised a total of $1 million so far.

The updating of the 1.8-acre Pershing Park, which this new project will be a part of, has not been smooth sailing, however. Opponents of the remake, like Charles Birnbaum, of the Cultural Landscape Foundation, say the current design of the park should be preserved, or at least incorporated into the new design, according to DCist.

Meanwhile, proponents say the old park has become dilapidated and in need of an update. Even though a design has officially been selected, there are still a few barriers to overcome, as multiple historic preservation organizations still need to give their OK, Construction Dive reports.

At just 25 years old, this project represents a huge opportunity for Weishaar.


Rendering courtesy of World War One Centennial Commission

Overlay Init