A new design competition called “Memorials for the Future," launched by the National Parks Service (NPS), National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), and Van Alen Institute, wants to reevaluate memorials. The program aims to generate new ideas about how Washington, D.C., honors the country’s diverse history, heritage, and culture. The competition was originally announced back in Oct., 2015, at the White House to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Challenge.gov—a federally incentivized program that promotes prize and challenge competitions.
A long-established practice behind memorials is to commemorate past events. However, because the backgrounds and audiences surrounding typically permanent memorials are constantly changing, the organizations behind this program believe these structures should do so in a more ephemeral way, and be able to not just look back at history but also forward, according to the press release published by the Van Alen Institute.
Submitters have been tasked to envision how their proposals will be woven into public spaces near the National Mall within the rapidly changing urban fabric of Washington, D.C.
Three finalists, selected by an 11-person jury, will each receive a $15,000 stipend for research and design, to be announced this summer. A winner will be announced in the fall, along with the published competition results, both of which are set to be presented at an exhibition in Washington, D.C., helping both NPS and NCPC to determine future competitions. The Van Alen Institute, a New York-based nonprofit that organizes and promotes public programs for design and research related to urban areas, will then lead the development of the final design outcomes for the project.
To be eligible, the teams must include one designer, who should either be an architect, landscape architect, urban designer, planner, or artist. Teams are encouraged to include a member with a knack or expertise in storytelling, commemoration, or social sciences.
The registration deadline and final electronic submission for concepts is May 4, at 11:59 pm EDT.