The vision of the Cold War Veterans Memorial is to create permanent recognition that stimulates ongoing thought, and study which honors American military and civilians who served and sacrificed during the Cold War era.
In line with the Pritzker Military Museum & Library’s mission, the Cold War Veterans Memorial aims to increase the public understanding of military history. It will be a lasting tribute to the courage and tenacity found in the U.S. Armed Forces and civilian personnel who faithfully and honorably served during the Cold War era, September 2, 1945 to December 26, 1991.
The Memorial will be a publicly accessible display where citizens can honor, reflect and learn about the bravery and sacrifice displayed to further the freedom that our country enjoys.
In April 2021, we launched an international design competition for our new Cold War Veterans Memorial. We received multiple inspiring design submissions and narrowed it down to four talented finalists. After close consideration, a final selected design was chosen, Oyler Wu Collaborative’s ‘Orbits’.
This Oyler Wu Collaborative draws from a range of meaningful artifacts and imagery of the era to create an immersive experience — evoking a range of cultural associations organized as a set of circular ‘orbits’ through the landscape.
The design, headed by Jenny Wu and Dwayne Oyler, envisions a memorial that embodies the ideals and mission of the Memorial Park, making more tactile a context that can’t be measured in a single name or event – only in glimpses of history. Within these glimpses is a layered timeline of both personal and collective experiences that are emblematic of the Cold War – a paradigm that rebalances the interconnected narratives of American innovation and service.
From its formal structure to its shaped surroundings, the memorial emerges from the ground to become an architectural tribute to veterans, embodying the dedication, optimism, and hope that is emblematic of their enduring spirit. Collectively, the memorial unifies these complex narratives through juxtaposition, recognizing its interconnected history; one of sacrifice, triumph, and innovation.
Oyler Wu Collaborative is committed to the idea that architecture’s full potential is born out of its ability to operate simultaneously at multiple scales as an art form, affecting human experience in non-linear ways as it moves from large architectural strategies to intimate forms of engagement.
We look forward to seeing the Oyler Wu Collaborative design come to life and are grateful to all the talented designers who participated.
To learn more about the design competition, visit the website.