Updates to World War II Memorial Design Announced; Natural Elements Play Significant Role in Memorial Design

Jul 22, 1997, 01:00 ET from American Battle Monuments Commission

    WASHINGTON, July 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Updated design specifications for the
 national World War II Memorial to be built on the Mall here were released by
 the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) today, in advance of its
 presentation to the Commission of Fine Arts on Thursday.
     ABMC noted that the changes are part of the ongoing review and approval
 process for a design concept which remains a "work in progress."
     The widely acclaimed open-air design by Friedrich St. Florian, selected
 from more than 400 entries in an open, national competition, maintains and
 enhances the historical vistas between the Lincoln Memorial and Washington
 Monument -- a strict requirement of the design competition guidelines.
     Because of the tree-lined landscape surrounding the memorial site, the
 World War II Memorial will not be visible from the steps of the Lincoln
 Memorial.  According to St. Florian, as one moves closer to the World War II
 Memorial site from the Lincoln Memorial, the first indication of the site will
 be two gently sloping, crescent-shaped carpets of white roses surrounding a
 memorial plaza with the existing Rainbow Pool in the center.
     The updates from the original design concept are as follows:
     -- Proposed auditorium eliminated;
     -- Interior space reduced from 56,000 square feet to 32,000 square feet;
     -- Plaza level raised to 6 feet from 15 feet below street level;
     -- Height of perimeter columns reduced from 40 to 36 feet;
     -- Rose-covered berms lowered from 35 to 33 feet above street level;
     -- Slope of the berms flattened from 1:2 ratio to 1:2.8 ratio; and,
     -- Memorial's overall footprint reduced by approximately 10 percent.
     "In striving for a flawless design, we sought out the respected opinions
 of the design jury and other experts," said St. Florian. "These updates
 reflect those recommendations and are part of the continuing creative process
 that will bring us to an effective design."
     In addition, a commemorative memorial wall, with inscriptions and
 iconographic works of art, will be the centerpiece of a waterfall which
 optically connects the Rainbow Pool and the Reflecting Pool on the west side
 of the plaza.  The carpet of white roses, which bloom most of the year, will
 cover approximately one-third of the entire footprint of the memorial, and the
 Rainbow Pool will cover nearly one-half the memorial plaza.
     "The modifications to the design allow the memorial to better integrate
 into the historic landscape of the National Mall," said Hugh Hardy, renowned
 architect and a member of the design jury.  "Not only does the memorial's
 design enhance its natural elements, but it adheres to the original vision for
 this place of historical significance."
     "We are pleased by the collaborative and thoughtful process from which our
 current design has evolved," said Maj. Gen. John Herrling, USA (Ret.)
 secretary of the ABMC.  "As is the case with all memorials, however, the
 review process allows for further refinements to the design before it is
     The design modifications were presented to members of both design juries
 at a meeting in New York earlier this spring.  The juries, which included
 architecture critics Ada Louise Huxtable and Bob Campbell, and noted
 architects David Childs, Hugh Hardy and others, have become an active advisory
 board to the ABMC, St. Florian and his design team.
     The memorial design must ultimately be approved by the Commission of Fine
 Arts, the National Capital Planning Commission and the Secretary of the
 Interior.  Public hearings to review the design are scheduled to begin this
     St. Florian's design for the World War II Memorial was selected through an
 open, national competition in which two independent panels comprised of
 prominent architects and World War II veterans unanimously and independently
 selected it from among 400 entries.  The design was inspired by Charles Pierre
 L'Enfant's original vision for the National Mall and the subsequent revision
 outlined in the 1902 "McMillian Plan."
     The World War II Memorial will be constructed on a 7.4-acre site at the
 east end of the Reflecting Pool between the Lincoln Memorial and Washington
 Monument on the National Mall.  President Clinton dedicated the site on
 Veterans Day 1995, and the winning memorial design was unveiled at a White
 House ceremony earlier this year.  The World War II Memorial will be
 constructed as part of a $100 million fund-raising campaign being carried out
 by the ABMC.

SOURCE American Battle Monuments Commission