Oyler Wu Selected for Cold War Veterans Memorial

John Hill
24. March 2022
Visualization: Oyler Wu Collaborative

The selection was announced on Tuesday, one year after the Chicago-based Pritzker Military Museum & Library launched an international competition for the design of a new Cold War Veterans Memorial to be built at PAMPC. Located on former farmland in Somers, south of Milwaukee, the PAMPC project also includes the Pritzker Military Archives Center, which was designed by the firm of the late architect Helmut Jahn and is currently under construction.

JAHN's Pritzker Military Archives Center under construction, as of September 2021. (Photo: Google Maps)

Orbits, designed by Jenny Wu and Dwayne Oyler of Los Angeles's Oyler Wu Collaborative, was selected over three other finalists in the two-stage competition:

  • Infinite Life by Michele De Lucchi con Francesco Forcella (project architect), Nicholas Bewick, Junmei Liu, Emanuele Novembre, Guido Tarantola, Mayya Sargsyan of AMDL CIRCLE in Milan, Italy;
  • The Conflict by Mai Abu-Shanab and Jalal Al-Sadi of  m+j architect studio atelier in Amman, Jordan;
  • Eternal Circulation by Shinsaku Munemoto of Shinsaku Munemoto & Associates, Architects in Kyoto, Japan.

Oyler Wu's design is marked by circles: paths, walls, seating, and a structure that rises at an angle from the earth. Their submittal explains, in part: "In recognition of the profound complexity of the Cold War, our design draws from a range of meaningful artifacts and imagery from the era to create an immersive experience — evoking a range of cultural associations organized as a set of circular 'orbits' through the landscape."

Visualization: Oyler Wu Collaborative

Orbits was selected unanimously by the jury because of the way the memorial "emerges from the ground to become an architectural tribute to Cold War veterans, embodying the dedication, optimism, and hope that is emblematic of their enduring spirit," according to a statement from the Pritzker Military Museum & Library. 

Jennifer Pritzker, founder of the non-governmental, non-partisan organization, said: "We believe that the Orbits design will truly resemble a place where everyone who contributed to the Cold War will be honored. This memorial is special and very dear to many because people who sacrificed during this era are not recognized enough. Our goal is to make sure that our gratitude to these individuals is signified through this project."

No construction start date or completion date for the memorial was included in this week's announcement, though the Architect's Newspaper indicates a 2024 start for this piece of the PAMPC project.

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