COLD WAR MEMORIAL
In recognition of the profound complexity of the Cold War, our proposal draws on a range of Cold War artifacts and imagery to create a deeply moving and immersive experience. Organized as a set of circular “orbits” influenced by Diplomatic, Intelligence, Military, and Economic themes, our proposal moves the visitor along a journey through the serene Wisconsin landscape. Each orbit takes shape differently, as the memorial emerges from the ground — from its arcing pathways and gracefully curving walls, to a small amphitheater. A large disk-shaped structure is partially embedded in the ground, tilted to elegantly hover overhead in other areas, forming a unique spatial experience for visitors. With the intention of evoking the broadest range of Cold War associations, the disk and its surrounding elements conjure imagery that is both triumphant and ominous—from communication satellites to underground bunkers, and from war rooms to missile silos.
Yet, like the Cold War itself, our proposal also evokes a sense of technological advancement, and a recognition of American ingenuity and ambition. Collectively, these experiences evoke a set complex emotional responses that come from their unique juxtaposition. Throughout the memorial, the walls contain tributes to the veterans of the Cold War, etched with imagery and quotes that reflect the vast number of Americans that dedicated their service and their lives to its cause. Our hope is that the memorial speaks to the sacrifice of these service members, while still leaving its visitors with a sense of optimism and hope that is emblematic of their enduring American spirit.
Our approach to the Cold War Veterans Memorial takes into account the idea that the memorial should have an initial impact as an iconic element, but it should also encapsulate a range of experiences that mirror the Cold War – using organization, form, and material to evoke these moments. Looking to a range of iconic Cold-War artifacts that embody an intangible quality of the era, we were especially drawn to their emotional provocations. These included spy satellites and U2 bombers. Lightweight and “of the sky,” these triumphant technological relics of the time spoke of our ambitious advancements and have an enduring iconicity.