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Chicago Architect's Design Selected for US WWI Memorial

  • Reuters

A rendering of "The Weight of Sacrifice" by Chicago architect Joseph Weishaar and New York sculptor Sabin Howard, the winning entry in an international contest to design a World War I memorial in Washington, D.C. (World War I Centennial Commission)

A rendering of "The Weight of Sacrifice" by Chicago architect Joseph Weishaar and New York sculptor Sabin Howard, the winning entry in an international contest to design a World War I memorial in Washington, D.C. (World War I Centennial Commission)

A park-like design by a Chicago architect was selected for the National World War I Memorial in Washington on Tuesday, the project's organizers said.

Architect Joseph Weishaar's design, called "The Weight of Sacrifice," was picked by the World War I Centennial Commission to be built at Pershing Park in downtown Washington. It will commemorate the more than 116,000 Americans who died in the war.

Weishaar, 25, and New York sculptor Sabin Howard headed a team that finished ahead of more than 350 other entrants in a privately funded competition.

The final design faces a number of approvals before it can be built, including that of the National Park Service. It is expected to cost about $35 million.

"We've got a long way to go in the fundraising," Edwin Fountain, vice chairman of the World War I Centennial Commission, told a news conference.

Each cubic foot (0.03 cubic meter) of the memorial represents a U.S. service member who died. The centerpiece is a wall that includes etched images of World War I soldiers in battle or rescuing injured comrades.

Weishaar is a project architect with Brininstool+Lynch in Chicago and a 2013 graduate of the University of Arkansas. The design jury unanimously recommended his design and the commission approved it.

Aerial view of proposed layout for "The Weight of Sacrifice" WWI memorial in Washington D.C. (World War I Centennial Commission)

Aerial view of proposed layout for "The Weight of Sacrifice" WWI memorial in Washington D.C. (World War I Centennial Commission)

The site will complete the national memorials in Washington to the four great U.S. wars of the 20th century - the two world wars, Korea and Vietnam.

The new memorial, which will feature trees and other greenery, will also honor the 4.7 million Americans in the armed forces during the war and the millions who served in a civilian capacity.

The 1.75-acre (0.68-hectare) site about a block east of the White House already contains a statue of General John Pershing, the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces during the war.

World War I began in July 1914 and killed 16 million combatants and civilians. The United States entered the war in April 1917 and more Americans died in the conflict than in Korea and Vietnam combined.

"We lost more men in one month in World War I than we lost in 14 years in the war on terror," Fountain said.

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