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Changes To WWII Memorial Design Will Ensure Open and Fair Competition

June 10, 1996

June 10, 1996
Colonel Kevin Kelley
Johanna Roark

To ensure an open and fair competition while achieving the best in design, Major General John P. Herrling, U.S. Army (Retired), Secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), announced today changes to the design excellence competition for the National World War II Memorial.

Major General Herrling said, "The structure of this open competition and selection process is designed to ensure the widest possible participation. There is no entry fee, and the only requirements are that a designer be over eighteen years of age and a U.S. citizen."

A new description of the changes were published in the Commerce Business Daily (CBD).

Herrling said that Bill Lacy, president of Purchase College, State University of New York, and Executive Director of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize, was recently retained to serve as the professional advisor for the World War II Memorial design competition.

Lacy said there will be two stages to the design competition. In stage one, the goal is to attract the widest possible participation in the competition. It will be completely open and anonymous, and the designer for the competition may be -- but is not limited to -- an architect, landscape architect, urban designer, artist, teacher, student, veteran, or a collaboration of any of these.

Further, the designer's preliminary design vision will be evaluated for originality, appropriateness, feasibility, and compliance with program requirements. These four evaluation criteria are of equal importance, and they are the only criteria in the first phase which closes August 12th. A board consisting of individuals from the private sector and government, including World War II veterans, will conduct the evaluations. The majority of the board will be design professionals. The board will select a short list of at least five designers for stage two of the competition.

In the second stage, beginning in late August, each short-listed designer will participate in a detailed conceptual design competition. Designers will receive a stipend to partially compensate for costs incurred. A qualified, independent jury of notable Americans, the majority of whom will be nationally recognized design professionals, will review and evaluate the proposed design concepts and make recommendations to the evaluation board.

The evaluation factors for stage two will include design concept, past design performance, specialized experience and competence, professional qualifications, and capacity to complete the work in the required time. The weight to be accorded each factor will be published in the CBD along with the announcement of the short-listed designers from stage one.

"The competition process will ensure that the original designer who develops the preliminary design vision will remain a vital part of the project design team throughout the development of the design," Lacy said. "This is a notable departure and improvement over previous design competitions."

The project is the first national memorial on American soil to be dedicated to all who served in the U. S. American Armed Forces during the Second World War as well as to the vital contribution of the American people on the home front. The Memorial will be located on a magnificent site on the National Mall, midway between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, but it will not interfere with the Mall's central vista. The target date for the Memorial's dedication is the year 2000. The private funding goal for the Memorial is $100 million.

The ABMC, a Federal agency of the Executive Branch, maintains 24 military memorial cemeteries overseas where many of America's war dead from World Wars I and II are interred and where the missing in action are honored by name. Congress directed the ABMC to establish the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The ABMC has selected the General Services Administration to manage the development of the Memorial based on the success of GSA's Design Excellence Program, which has produced a number of award-winning government buildings.

Last Reviewed: 2017-08-13