An international architecture and engineering firm, managed the National WWII Memorial team of architects and engineers. As architect-engineer for the project, Leo A Daly was legally and professionally responsible for the design, and had primary responsibility for the production of architectural construction documents, as well as contract administration and engineering. Leo A Daly has extensive experience working on projects for the U.S. government and is the fourth largest architecture / engineering firm in the U.S.
Is the design architect of the National WWII Memorial. The former dean of the Rhode Island School of Design was selected to design the memorial from more than 400 entries in a nationwide competition. His career is distinguished by landmark theoretical works and critically acclaimed residences in the Rhode Island area. He has been the Associate Architect for Providence Place, a $450 million retail and entertainment facility in downtown Providence. Honors include the Rome Prize Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome, a Fullbright Fellowship, and a citation for excellence in architectural design from Progressive Architecture. George E. Hartman of Hartman-Cox Architects shared primary responsibility for architectural schematic design and design development with St.Florian.
An architect who sculpts, created all of the sculpture for the National WWII Memorial. His sculpture commissions include the Ronald Reagan Courthouse in Santa Ana, Calif., the Olympic Centennial Park in Atlanta, Ga., the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the Portland Public Services Building in Portland, Ore.
Was the landscape architect for the National WWII Memorial. Oehme, van Sweden and Associates’ landscape design work includes the Nelson A. Rockefeller Park on the Hudson River in New York City, the International Center Embassy campus in Washington, D.C., and the Frederik Meijer/Michigan Botanic Gardens in Grand Rapid, Mich.
A third generation stone carver and letterer, is the owner-operator of The John Stevens Shop, a company founded in 1705 by John Stevens dedicated to the craft of calligraphy and hand-carved lettering in stone. Benson designed and carved the inscription lettering for the National WWII Memorial. Previous John Stevens Shop commissions include the Iwo Jima Memorial, the Kennedy Memorial in Arlington Cemetery, and the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Ala.
The American Battle Monuments Commission engaged the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Public Buildings Service to act as its agent to manage execution of the memorial. A design by architect Friedrich St.Florian was selected for the memorial through a two-stage, open competition modeled on the GSA’s Design Excellence Program.
During Stage I, approximately 400 preliminary design visions were reviewed by an Architect-Engineer (A-E) Evaluation Board. Entries were evaluated on their originality, appropriateness, feasibility, and compliance with project requirements. The board selected six design visions to compete in Stage II.
Stage II design concepts were judged by a Design Jury. Evaluation criteria in this stage included design concept, past performance, specialized experience and technical competence, professional qualifications, and capacity to accomplish the work in the required time. The Design Jury identified the strengths and weaknesses of each concept and provided a rationale for their final ranking to the A-E Board. The board, in turn, reviewed the jury’s recommendations and interviewed the design teams before making a final recommendation to ABMC. St.Florian’s winning design was the unanimous choice throughout the Stage II process.
Bill Lacy, president of Purchase College, State University of New York, was the professional advisor for the competition.
A 10-member independent design jury, the majority of whom are nationally recognized design professionals, evaluated design concepts for the National World War II Memorial. The jury judged design proposals of six competition finalists selected from approximately 400 initial entries, and made recommendations to the Architect-Engineer Evaluation Board.
A 12-member architect-engineer evaluation board was appointed to evaluate design concepts for the World War II Memorial and recommend a project design team to the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC). The board evaluated more than 400 design visions before selecting six competition finalists. The board used recommendations from the Design Jury and interviews with design team members to prepare a selection report that the ABMC used to select Friedrich St.Florian’s winning design. The selection report was written by Bill Lacy, the board’s professional advisor.
The National World War II Memorial design recognizes that the site itself pays special tribute to America’s WWII generation. The memorial design creates a special place within the vast openness of the National Mall to commemorate the sacrifice and celebrate the victory of WWII, yet remains respectful and sensitive to its historic surroundings. The vistas from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial and the site’s park-like setting are preserved, and the double row of elm trees that flank the memorial have been restored. Above all, the design creates a powerful sense of place that is distinct, memorable, evocative and serene.
Two 43-foot pavilions serve as markers and entries on the north and south ends of the plaza. Bronze baldacchinos are an integral part of the pavilion design. Four bronze columns support four American eagles that hold a suspended victory laurel to memorialize the victory of the WWII generation. Inlayed on the floor of the pavilions are the WWII victory medal surrounded by the years “1941-1945” and the words “Victory on Land,” “Victory at Sea,” and “Victory in the Air.” These sculptural elements celebrate the victory won in the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters.
Fifty-six granite pillars celebrate the unprecedented unity of the nation during WWII. The pillars are connected by a bronze sculpted rope that symbolizes the bonding of the nation. Each state and territory from that period and the District of Columbia is represented by a pillar adorned with oak and wheat bronze wreaths and inscribed with its name; the pillars are arranged in the order of entry into the Union, alternating south to north across the plaza beginning adjacent to the Field of Gold Stars. The 17-foot pillars are open in the center for greater transparency, and ample space between each allows viewing into and across the memorial.
Within a commemorative area at the western side of the memorial is recognized the sacrifice of America’s WWII generation and the contribution of our allies. A field of 4,000 sculpted gold stars on the Freedom Wall commemorate the more than 400,000 Americans who gave their lives. During WWII, the gold star was the symbol of family sacrifice.
The historic waterworks of the Rainbow Pool are completely restored and contribute to the celebratory nature of the memorial. The design provides seating along the pool circumference for visitors. Semi-circular fountains at the base of the two memorial pavilions and waterfalls flanking the Freedom Wall complement the waterworks in the Rainbow Pool.
Two-thirds of the 7.4-acre memorial site is landscaping and water, allowing the memorial to nestle comfortably within its park-like setting. The ceremonial entrance has three large lawn panels between the monumental steps. The elm trees have been restored to their original splendor, and a replanting plan replaced unhealthy trees. A landscaped contemplative area is located at the northwestern corner of the site. Canopies of flowering trees augment re-seeded lawns.
The memorial is constructed of bronze and granite. Granite was chosen for its aesthetic appeal, superior strength, and durability. Water resistance was another important criterion. The two principal stones selected for the memorial are “Kershaw” for the vertical elements and “Green County” for the main plaza paving stone. “Kershaw” is quarried in South Carolina, while “Green County” is quarried in Georgia. Two green stones – “Rio Verde” and “Moss Green” – were used for accent paving on the plaza. Both are quarried in Brazil. “Academy Black” and “Mount Airy” were used to reconstruct the Rainbow Pool. “Mount Airy,” quarried in North Carolina, is the original coping stone of the Rainbow Pool. To enhance the aesthetic appearance of the water surface of the pool, an apron of “Academy Black,” quarried in California, were used for the vertical interior surfaces.
The following inscriptions are inscribed in the National World War II Memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C. The inscriptions are presented by location.
HERE IN THE PRESENCE OF WASHINGTON AND LINCOLN, ONE THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY FATHER AND THE OTHER THE NINETEENTH CENTURY PRESERVER OF OUR NATION, WE HONOR THOSE TWENTIETH CENTURY AMERICANS WHO TOOK UP THE STRUGGLE DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR AND MADE THE SACRIFICES TO PERPETUATE THE GIFT OUR FOREFATHERS ENTRUSTED TO US: A NATION CONCEIVED IN LIBERTY AND JUSTICE.
AMERICANS CAME TO LIBERATE, NOT TO CONQUER, TO RESTORE FREEDOM AND TO END TYRANNY
OUR DEBT TO THE HEROIC MEN AND VALIANT WOMEN IN THE SERVICE OF OUR COUNTRY CAN NEVER BE REPAID. THEY HAVE EARNED OUR UNDYING GRATITUDE. AMERICA WILL NEVER FORGET THEIR SACRIFICES.
President Harry S Truman
THE HEROISM OF OUR OWN TROOPS…WAS MATCHED BY THAT OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE NATIONS THAT FOUGHT BY OUR SIDE…THEY ABSORBED THE BLOWS…AND THEY SHARED TO THE FULL IN THE ULTIMATE DESTRUCTION OF THE ENEMY.
President Harry S Truman
1941 – 1945 VICTORY ON LAND VICTORY AT SEA VICTORY IN THE AIR
HERE WE MARK THE PRICE OF FREEDOM
Inside each victory pavilion is a sculptural canopy called a baldacchino. These baldacchinos are actually four eagles holding a laurel victory wreath suspended above an enlarged victory medallion set into the floor below. The eagle is the symbol of the United States of America. The laurel wreath is a symbol of victory going back to ancient Greece. So, the sculptures symbolize American victory in the Atlantic and in the Pacific theaters. The eagles have wingspans of 11 feet and are perched on columns 18 feet tall. Each of the laurel wreaths weighs 5,000 pounds and was designed by Ray Kaskey of Maryland.
There are 24 bronze bas relief panels flanking the formal 17th Street entrance to the memorial. Each panel measures two feet tall by five feet long and was designed by Maryland artist Ray Kaskey. Twelve scenes from the homefront and the Pacific Theater are displayed on the south walk and twelve scenes from the homefront and the European Theater are along the northern walk. Descriptions and explanations of the sculptures are available as handouts at the World War II Memorial visitor contact station located along Home Front Drive.
A series of bas-relief sculpture panels created by sculptor Ray Kaskey is set into the balustrades of the north and south ceremonial entrance walls. The bas-reliefs consist of 24 separate panels. The 12 on the north depict the Atlantic front; the 12 on the south depict the Pacific front.
The unifying theme of the panels is the transformation of America caused by the country’s total immersion in World War II. The panels depict the all-out mobilization of America’s agricultural, industrial, military, and human resources that transformed the country into the arsenal of democracy as well as the breadbasket of the world.
The visual inspiration for these panels is the bas-relief sculptures that encircle the Pension Building in Washington, D.C., which were influenced by the bas-reliefs on the Parthenon. What these bas-reliefs have in common is that all are isocephalic, a Greek word meaning that the heads of the principal figures line up horizontally. The human scale is the visual unifying element common to all 24 panels; all details, scenes, equipment, etc. are subordinated to the scale of the figure. The unity of purpose unique to this time in America is best evoked by placing the visual emphasis on the individual in this time-honored manner. Most of the panels are based on historical photos.
The enormously popular “Kilroy Was Here” graffiti of the Second World War, likely originated with James J. Kilroy, a ship inspector at the Fore River shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts, who would sign his completed work with his famous cartoon signature.
“Kilroy Was Here”, accompanied by a cartoon drawing of a man looking over a wall, was a popular form of graffiti drawn by American troops in the Atlantic theater and then later in the Pacific theater. It came to be a universal sign that American soldiers had come through an area and left their mark. Its origins most likely come from a British cartoon and the name of an American shipyard inspector. The myths surrounding it are numerous and often center on a German belief that Kilroy was some kind of superspy who could go anywhere he pleased. There are two Kilroys hidden in the Memorial. You have to find them yourself!