Press Releases

The Cultural Landscape Foundation Opposes Demolition of Pershing Park for a World War I Memorial


Media Contact: Nord Wennerstrom | T: 202.483.0553  | M: 202.225.7076 | E:

Project is a unique effort by landscape architects M. Paul Friedberg and Oehme, van Sweden

(Washington, DC – August 19, 2015) – The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) today opposed demolition of Pershing Park for the creation of a World War I Memorial following the announcement by the U.S. World War I Memorial Commission of the five finalist designs for a new memorial, all of which call for the demolition of Pershing Park. Pershing, which was designed by influential Modernist landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg, was recently added to TCLF’s Landslide list of nationally significant at-risk and threatened landscapes.  The park, located on Pennsylvania Avenue and two blocks from the White House, was commissioned by the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation (PADC) and opened in 1981. Oehme, Van Sweden & Associates, Inc. did the planting design, which was installed the same year.  

“The five finalist World War I Memorial designs call for the demolition of one of the most important public spaces commissioned by the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation, and a work by three master landscape architects,” said TCLF President & CEO Charles A. Birnbaum.

M. Paul Friedberg, a nationally significant landscape architect, is this year’s recipient of the American Society of Landscape Architect’s (ASLA) top award, the ASLA Medal.  Friedberg, who served in the US Army in Korea, has already received the ASLA Design Medal, the other top award from the organization that represents the profession.  He is one of only five practitioners to receive both awards in ASLA’s 116-year history.  Wofgang Oehme and James van Sweden, revolutionized the practice of landscape architecture with the creation of the “New American Garden” typology.  Their work is the subject of a new retrospective at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC opening October 17, 2015.  This is the largest monographic landscape architecture exhibition in the museum’s history.

TCLF’s opposition is not a commentary on the need for or appropriateness of a national World War I memorial, the people it would honor, or the sincere intent of the Commission and its supporters.

NOTE: Downloadable hi-res images are available at TCLF’s online Pressroom.

About The Cultural Landscape Foundation

The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF), established in 1998, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation that provides people with the tools to see, understand and value landscape architecture, its practitioners, and our cultural landscape legacy in the way many people have learned to do with buildings and their designers. Through its website, lectures, outreach and publishing, TCLF broadens the support and understanding for cultural landscapes nationwide to help safeguard our priceless heritage for future generations. TCLF makes a special effort to heighten the awareness of those who impact cultural landscapes, assist groups and organizations working to increase the appreciation and recognition of cultural landscapes, and develop educational tools for young people to better connect them to their cultural landscape environs.

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