William C. Tripp Architect

WWI Peace Memorial Park

A collaboration with PLACE

Washington, DC
Competition 2015

To honor those Americans lost in the “War to End All Wars” we designed a memorial composed of two parts, one to connect visitors to the visceral experience of war and the other to create a ritual for ensuring peace.

Inspired by the scars of long-silent battlefields, the site is transformed into an undulating meadow out of which erupts a large glass sculpture.

A journey through gently sculpted terrain reveals jagged trenches as the meadow descends. The path narrows, stone walls close in, water weeps down the sides. The air is rich with the fragrance of leaves and loam. There is no way out but to move forward. In the scorched ground a fissure opens, black and bottomless.

From this trench of death and despair, the stone explodes upward into luminous spires, glowing in the sun and igniting the night skies. A monument of light and hope emerges.

As we emerge from the interior, walking through trees, a path appears. We are invited to join a procession, bearing witness, weaving among white-bark trees guiding us past the White House, Capitol, and Supreme Court. Reminiscent of endless rows of grave markers, we reach out to touch the trees, offering a silent prayer. Over time the bark is burnished, a testament to our enduring commitment to peace, democracy, and reconciliation. Resolve.