Unity Grove Park

Unity Grove Park - WWI Design Competition
Washington, D.C.

This entry for the WWI Memorial Competition centers on the cultural unity resulting in America's participation in the war.  The last hundred years, dubbed The American Century, began when America emerged from World War I as a unified nation and world leader.

Unity Grove Park’s spatial composition reflects this burgeoning unity. Visitors enter along the park’s open and universally accessible edges, filtering through public gardens and plazas into the Memorial Core. The Memorial Core is defined by a series of curved walks and timeline walls. Its outermost arc is permeable, gathering visitors into the Memorial space and telling the story leading up to America’s involvement in WWI.

A threshold representing the events of 1917 and America’s entrance into the war creates a turning point in the visitors’ experience as they enter a sloped walk into the Unity Grove. The timeline continues, now focused on America’s role. As visitors are funneled downward, they are now united in a shared experience.

Unity Grove is a contemplative space, recessed into the ground and separated from the city. Curved steel walls with millions of light perforations represent the magnitude of Americans who served and create a seamless connection to the nighttime sky above. At the center is a memorial to the men and women who gave their lives. Granite stones recovered from the current park are laid in bands from which emerges a grove of birch trees--a symbol of rebirth, resilience and recovery.

Design entry for Stage I of the competition.