The jury of an international competition to design a national memorial for World War I has made its choice, overlooking a beautiful classical proposal in order to select a more modest proposal that, perhaps, will ruffle a lot fewer feathers. The jury may be applauded for the intestinal courage required to deep-six all of the three more overtly modernist proposals. That is small consolation for not selecting the clearly superior design.
In lieu, for now, of writing more extensively this evening on the decision, I here link to my first post about the finalists, which describes and illustrates them all. The winner is the second design I described. But first I described the design of Devin Kimmel, of Kimmel Studio in Annapolis. That post and another in the next day or so caught his eye. He asked me to write some press releases. He later asked me to join his design team in order to write a lengthy description of the proposal, its evolution in Phase II and its purpose for his final presentation to the jury on Dec. 9. He paid me for my work.
I have placed a rendering of the near-final design atop this post because the top is the place it deserved to own in the competition’s final round. I had hoped he’d win for obviously selfish reasons in addition to those having to do with my objective opinion of his design’s merit. I believe that one look at his design and the other finalists’ designs, including the winning entry, will absolve me of any hint of bias in preferring his over theirs. For a classicists such as me there could have been no other choice.
More tomorrow on this. Meanwhile, check out a piece by Philip Kennicott in the Washington Post, “America is chock full of World War I memorials, so why build another one?” published a few days before the jury made its choice. It is chock full of absurdities, so I commend it to readers’ entertainment.