Year: Summer 2015
Type: Cultural, Public Space, uburban
Location: Washington D.c.
Thresholds Between Antiquitiy and Modernity
A Memorial to Those who Fought in the First Great War
Proposal by: Jeffery Roberson and Jared Barnett
World War I remains the origin point for the vast majority of military conflicts in the 20th century. Beyond combat, it was also a confirmation that in the tenuous dance between Enlightenment and Industrialization, the latter had proved victorious. The monstrous specter of global destruction had awakened.
Culturally and architecturally, this moment also sits at a nexus wherein one dominant Order, evolved since antiquity, was exchanged for another—that of the Modern. Washington DC itself is reminiscent of a similar historical threshold, an experiment in urban planning for a nation in formation. This memorial has the task of evoking the moment of 20th century rupture while also participating in the redemptive urban constellation established by L’Enfant.
Our memorial is concerned with presencing contradictions. The formal urban strategy is to reestablish the avenue corridors that engage the site. Similarly, our proposal reaches to the adjacent Herbert C. Hoover building’s neoclassical intercolumniation and rustication base for its basic system of measure. Surrounding this structure is a perforated wall that is 50’ tall—calibrated again to the adjacent building.
In contrast to these site calibrations meant to confirm the memorials’ place in the DC urban fabric, is the grossly exaggerated proportioning of wall, pillars and steel frame. The scale is almost anti-human, in that it never cedes to the comfort of its occupant—a strategy of sublimation that emerged in the same tradition of visionary historical monuments that coincide with the birth of Washington DC.