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Over Here: World War One Lures Another Youthful Recruit

Over Here: World War One Lures Another Youthful Recruit

Weight of Sacrifice: The winning entry re-purposes existing Pershing Park with an 81-ft.-long bronze bas-relief sculpture that interfaces with a pair of bronze walls inscribed with poignant quotes about The Great War.

Weight of Sacrifice: The winning entry re-purposes existing Pershing Park with an 81-ft.-long bronze bas-relief sculpture that interfaces with a pair of bronze walls inscribed with poignant quotes about The Great War.

by JOHN GREGERSON | Jan 28, 2016

Call it beginner's luck. Big time. A 25-year-old Chicago-based architect still completing steps to achieve his professional licensure was commissioned this week to design a high-profile, $35-million memorial in Washington DC commemorating America's Doughboys, the U.S. soldiers who fought in World War One.

Rookie of the year? Weishaar beams.

Rookie of the year? Weishaar beams.

In partnership with New York sculptor Sabin Howard, architect Joe Weishaar, a project architect with designer Brininstool+Lynch, was selected by the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission from a field of five finalists shortlisted in August. In all, an international competition to design the prominent project drew more than 350 submissions.

“It's overwhelming, entirely,” Weishaar told reporters, “Just even making it to the second round of the competition was entirely overwhelming. It's the greatest opportunity I've ever had in my life, and I'm enthralled to see where it goes.”

His moving design proposal, entitled “The Weight of Sacrifice,” will be sited at Pennsylvania Avenue's Pershing Park, about a mile from the White House, and it will retain its existing walls, as well as a statue of World War 1 Gen. John J. Pershing. Plans call for redesigning the park with an 81-ft-long bronze bas-relief sculpture that interfaces with a pair of bronze walls inscribed with poignant quotes about the war. The proposal also adds maple trees to the park, elevates sunken areas to grade level and introduces a new statue entitled “The Wheels of Humanity,” to be created by Howard.

In a near-unanimous vote, jurors selected Weishaar-Howard's entry from a field that included:

Prior to the vote, Centennial Commissioner Libby O'Connell noted that “The Weight of Sacrifice” had created a park that also met the needs of disabled visitors. Following their vote, jurors indicated that the inclusion of Howard to the project team tilted their decision in Weishaar's favor.

If all goes as planned, the privately funded memorial will be completed on November 11, 2018, the official centennial of Armistice Day, the war's end.

Baltimore-based GWWO Inc. is the project's architect of record.

For more information on the World War One Centennial Commission, its history, and the ongoing fundraising efforts for the memorial, click here.

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